Skip to main content

Full text of "The life and writings of Rufus C. Burleson, containing a biography of Dr. Burleson by Harry Haynes; funeral occasion, with sermons, etc; selected "chapel talks;" Dr. Burleson as a preacher, with selected sermons"

See other formats







D. D., LL D. 


Hon. Harry Haynes 











Entered according to act of Congress, in 
the year 1901, by Mrs. Georgia J. Burleson, in 
the office of the Librarian of Congress at Wash- 



Pioneer Teachers, Preachers and Laymen, 

Who Struggled and Sacrificed to lay the 

Foundation of the Present 

Empire of Texas 


To the Ten Thousand Students of 

Dr. Burleson 

and the Thousands of Men and Women who have 

Gained Inspiration from His Life of 

Labor, th s Book s 

Affectionately Dedicated by his Wife. 


For several years the students and friends of Dr. Burle- 
son, as well as the public in general, have been expecting a 
Memoir in which would be crystalized in book form, from his 
own hand, what he deemed most worthy of preservation in his 
long and eventful career. 

For many years he contemplated writing such a book. 
Hundreds of his friends have urged him not to put it off 
until too late. 

But Dr. Burleson was a busy man. His time, his ener- 
gies, his life, were given to Baylor University, to the Baptists 
of Texas and to the whole country. These have received all 
of good his life could give. But the Memoir was never pub- 

Many of his sermons and addresses were published in 
newspapers and magazines but they were never carefully pre- 
pared so as to be available for book use. This was left, alas ! 
to be done when he had leisure. 

He wrote hundreds of articles on Texas History, which 
were published in newspapers. But whatever may be said of 
Dr. Burleson's qualifications, penmanship was one, for which 
he never received commendation. This, coupled with the 
mistakes incident to the rush and hurry of newspaper work, 

Publisher's Preface. vii 

together with the fact that the "proof" was never corrected 
by him. is sufficient explanation of the typographical errors 
his published articles contain. 

This was the condition of his literary affairs when he 
was stricken of his last sad illness. 

By his last will and testament the task was imposed upon 
me of collecting and publishing such of his writings as might 
be deemed of benefit to his students and their descendants 
to Texas, which he loved so well. 

The responsibility was accepted as a sacred duty to the 
living as well as to the dead. 

The work is done, how well the reader will judge. 

In this great work I have been fortunate in two partic- 
ulars : 

Pirst: In securing the services of the Hon. Harry 
Haynes to write Part I Biography of Dr. Burleson. Mr, 
Haynes was an early and devoted student of my late husband, 
as well as a warm personal friend. He possesses an extensive 
personal knowledge of Dr. Burleson's work in Texas. Mr. 
Haynes is a man of learning and a writer whose pen has made 
this section of the book one which will be of great interest to 
the reader, and one which needs no commendation at my 

Second : In the providence of God, I have had the ser- 
vices of my son, Mr. Richard A. Burleson, who has given his 
entire time to the work of preparing and publishing this vol- 
ume. While I have been the nominal and responsible pub- 
lisher, yet all the actual work and worry, both mental and 
financial have fallen upon him. He has left his business and 
given all his time and energy to the collecting of material, 
issuing circulars, making contracts, etc., etc., and has had 
entire charge of the work of getting the book in the hands of 
the agents and through them to the public. There are, of 
course, many mistakes which could not be avoided, yet what- 

viii Publisher's Preface. 

ever of credit may be due the publisher I hereby cheerfully 
award to him. 

I desire to call attention to the frequent repetition of the 
same facts, circumstances and illustrations in different articles : 
Especially in Texas History, in the ''Old Guard" Biographies 
and in the Anniversary Sermons. This condition would not 
exist had Dr. Burleson lived to write his own Memoirs. As 
the matter was left to me it was absolutely impossible to correct 
this without rewriting the entire work. This would have 
destroyed the individuality of Dr. Burleson simply to gain 
unity in the work. A favorite quotation with the Doctor was 
"Paint me as I am." So you have it as he wrote it. "Judge 
it as ye may." 

In conclusion, I value criticism. Any suggestions any 

one may see fit to make will be thankfully received and duly 


Affectionately yours, 



PART I Biography of Dr. Burleson. 


Chapter I Genealogy, General Remarks. Importance Attached 
to the Subject by Royal Families, Leads to Ancestral Wor- 
ship, Origin and Genealogy of the Burleson Family, Sir 
Edward Burleson, Aaron Burleson, General Ed. Burleson, 
Dr. R. C. Burleson : 5 

Chapter II Settlement of North Alabama, Desperate Resistance 
by Indian Tribes, Expeditions of Ponce DeLeon, Vasquez, 
Pamphilo, DeSoto, LaSalle, Iberville, Mississippi Scheme, 
Western Company, Tecumseh an Indian Warrior, Stirs the 
Tribes and Incites the War of 1813, Plan of His Warfare, 
General Government Appealed to, Heroic Settlers, Volun- 
teers Under General Andrew Jackson, Captain Jonathan 
Burleson Commands a Company, Close of the War, Immi- 
grants Pour into the Country 15 

Chapter III Flint River, North Alabama, Home of Jonathan 
Burleson, Settles Here in 1814, Erects a Cabin, Opens a 
Farm, Raises a Large Family, Amasses a Fortune, Rufus C. 
Burleson Born August 7, 1823, Instructed by His Mother, 
Learns Rapidly, Incidents and Anecdotes of His Boyhood, 
Discovers a Cave, Plays Detective 24 

Chapter IV Early Educational Advantages of North Alabama, 
Rufus Enters a District School, Rapid Advancement, At- 
tends Summerville Academy, School at Danville, Death of 
His Mother, Conversion and Baptism. Ambition to be a 
Lawyer. Impressions to Preach, Enters Nashville University, 
Licensed to Preach, Health Fails, Returns to His Father's 
Farm 33 

Chapter V Young Rufus Anxious to Return to the Univer- 
sity at Nashville, His Father Objects, Fearing His Health 
Would Again Fail, Compromise, Teaches in Mississippi Five 
Years, First Contract, Called to the Pastorate, Ordination by 
the Catalpa Baptist Church. June Sth, 1845, Dr. Wm. Carey 
Crane Clerk of the Council 40 

x Table of Contexts. 


Chapter VI Mr. Burleson Teaches in Mississippi Croin 1841 to 
1S15. Pursues His Studies, Called to the Pastorate, l>r. Alex- 
ander Campbell, Wave of Religious Disaffection, Mr. Burle- 
son Enters the Field of Polemics, Doctrinal Sermons, 
Articles in the Tennessee Baptist. Meets W. II. Muse, a 
Classmate, a Warm Discussiou, Formula for Killing Baptists, 
Resigns as Teacher and Pastor. Parting Between Prea -her. 
Parishioner, Parent and Pupil 46 

Chapteb VII From Mayhew Prairie Mr. Burleson Returns to 
His Father's Farm, Reviews the Scenes of His Boyhood, 
Preaches to His Old Church, Bids Farewell to Family and 
Friends. Rides Away to Covington and Enters the Western 
Baptist Theological Seminary. Graduates June Sth, 1847, 
Consecrates His Life to Texas. Incidents While at the Semi- 
nary. Beautiful Story of Dr. William A. Ashmore, That Had 
Its Culmination in Texas. Southern People Slandered. 
Theological Student Resents It, Challenge Passed, a Duel 
Arranged. Young Burleson Prevents It 53 

Chapter VIII Mr. Burleson Applies for Appointment as Mis- 
sionary to Texas to the Missionary Board of the Southern 
Baptist Convention. Early Texas Missions. Mrs. Cole's State- 
ment, Baptist Preachers in Texas as Early as 1S12, James R. 
Jenkins. A. Buffington. H. R. Cartmell, Birth of Organized 
Missions. Mr. Burleson's Services Accepted. Assigned to 
Duty at Gonzales, Studies Texas History. Character of the 
Early Missionaries 62 

Chapter IX Rev. Wm. M. Tryon Called to the Houston Pastor- 
ate December 1st. 1845, Dies at Sundown November 16th. 
1847, Resolutions of the Houston Church, Mr. Burleson Ap- 
pointed to Succeed Him. Starts for Texas, Reflections En 
Route. Reaches New Orleans. Takes a Steamer and Arrive- 
in Galveston January 5th. 1S4S. Meets Dr. J. F. Hillyer. 
Preaches His First Sermon in Texas From the Text, "For I 
Determined Not to Know Anything Among You Save Jesus 
Christ and Him Crucified" 69 

Chapter X Mr. Burleson's Arrival in Houston. Meets a Cordial 
Reception, Confronted with Difficulties, Members Discour- 
aged. Disbanded Soldiers from Mexico. Gold Discovered in 
California. Excitement in Texas. People Restless, Revival in 
Galveston. Results, Rev. Noah Hill 75 

Chapter XI Returns to Houston From Galveston Meeting, 
Prosecutes Church Work, Accessions, Fame as an Evangelist. 
Receives Many Invitations to Hold Meetings. Revival in Bren- 
ham, Congregation of One Man. Boys Try to Smoke Him Out. 
Devil With Hot Chain. Judge Baylor's Exhortation. New 
Years Creek Church, Forms an Arm at Brenham. Mr. Burle- 
son Presides Over the Conference, and is Elected First 
Pastor 83 

Table of Contents. xi 


Chapter XII Mr. Burleson's Estimate of the Pastorate, 
Authority of the Church. All Legislation, Canon, Creed or 
Decree not Authorized by the Word of God Rejected, Opposi- 
tion to a Union of Church and State, Indefinitely Called to 
Houston Pastorate, Dr. A. J. Gordon, Diversity of Minis- 
terial Gifts. Mr. Burleson Stricken with Yellow Fever. 
Cholera, Called to Pastorate at Huntsville, Ala., Declines. 
Visits Independence, Dr. H. L. Graves Resigns Presidency of 
Baylor University. Mr. Burleson Elected to Succeed Him, 
Sees Largi r Opportunities for Usefulness and Accepts. Resign 
at Houston, Resolutions of the Church 91 

Chapter XIII Wisdom of Texas Pioneer Baptists in Founding 
Educational Institutions, Union Association Organized, Texas 
Baptist Education Society Formed, Objects Delayed by the 
Mexican Invasion, Baptist University Projected, Charter 
Issued by the Republic of Texas. Us Name. Beautiful Story of 
Rev. Wm. M. Tryon and Judge R. E. B. Baylor. Towns Com- 
peting for Location. School Located at Independence, Sub- 
scription List, Dr. Henry L. Graves First President 99 

Chapter XIV Baylor University Born in a Storm, Santa Fe Ex- 
pedition, Somerville Campaign, Battle of Mier, Texas a New 
Country, Unsettled Conditions, Slow Progress of all Schools. 
Judge A. S. Lipscomb, Personal Popularity. Nominates Mr. 
Burleson for President, Providence Leading, Mr. Burleson's 
First Ambition, States Conditions of His Acceptance. Stale 
Convention, Mass Meeting, Confers with Other College Presi- 
dents, Outlines His Policy for Government of the School. . . . 110 

Chapter XV First Session of Baylor Under Dr. Burleson's 
Presidency, Difficulties Encountered. School Reported to be 
Dead. Method of Correcting Report. Dr. Burleson a Born 
Advertiser. First Catalogue Issued. Rev. James Huckins Ap- 
pointed General Financial Agent, His Letter to the Trustees, 
President Burleson Impresses the Trustees with the Stupend- 
ous Work of Building a Great University 119 

Chapter XVI Effects of the Revolutions Between Texas and 
Mexico in 1836 and Between the United States and Mexico 
in 1846 Still Perceptible. Mexicans Muttering, Texans on the 
Alert, Successful Canvass by the Financial Agent of Baylor 
in the States, His Report. Commences Work in Texas. Lonely 
Travels, Sleeps Under Trees. President Burleson's Compensa- 
tion for the First Year, Attendance 129" 

Chapter XVII Miss Georgia Jenkins. Birth, Comes to Texas 
with Her Father ifTT836. Attends Judson Female Institute. 
Graduates with Honor. Temperance Demonstration in Old 
Washington. Marriage in 1853, Bridal Tour to New Orleans, 
First Dinner at Home. Consulted by Her Husband on all 
Important Matters, Domestic Policy, Sacrifices and Struggles 
for the Cause of Education in Texas, Her Character 134 

xii Table or Contents. 


Chapteb XVIII Baylor Now a Real University, Every Facility 
for a Complete Education Offered, a College Code Adopted, 
Duties of the President and Trustees Denned, Admission of 
Students, Course of Instruction '. 142 

Chapter XIX Close of tbe Fall Term of 1S54, School in Prosper- 
ous Condition, Three Literary, and Several Secret Societies 
Formed, Society Demonstration, Address of Rev. R. H. Tala- 
ferro, President Burleson Unfavorably Impressed with the 
Effect of These Societies on the Student Body, Delivers a 
Lecture on the Subject in 1S55, Which was Repeated and 
Elaborated- Before the State Teachers' Association at El 
Paso in 1S98, The El Paso Address. Hazing, The Practice 
Suppressed in Baylor University , 150 

Chapter XX Dr. Burleson's Foresight, Predicts Future of 
Texas and Baylor University in a Letter to His Brother, 
Richard, in 1854, Creation and Criticism, Similarity and Dis- 
similarity Between R. C. and R. B. Burleson. Baptism of 
General Sam Houston. Bapistry of Independence Church, 
Coffin Shaped, Filled With Logs, Place Changed. Descrip- 
tion of this Historic Spot, Photographed for the First Time, 
for This Volume, by Thomas A. Holland 158 

Chapter XXI Baylor University From 1S55 to 18G0. Brilliant 
Faculty. Impressions Made on the Character of the Students, 
a Personal Testimony, Independence a Small Village, Board- 
ing Facilities Inadequate, Discontent Among Students, Presi- 
dent Burleson Erects a Three-story House. Two-story Annex. 
Assumes a Heavy Financial Obligation. Disastrous Drought 
in 1857. Affect- Attendance. Storm of September 8th, 1900.. 169 

Chapter XXII Facilities of the University Enlarged, Depart- 
ments of Law and Theology Established. Address of Judge 
James Jeffries. Faculty of the Law School, Reminiscences, 
Theological Department. Assumed No Great Proportions on 
Account of the War Between the States 175 

Chapter XXIII Legal Relations of Baylor University to Texas 
Baptist State Convention. Committee Report. An Exhaustive 
Discussion, Logical Presentation. Conclusions 185 

Chapter XXIV Chapel Talks. Subjects Discussed. Extract from 
a Student's Letter, Good Impressions Made, Detective Bird, 
Anecdotes and Incidents. A Carriage Ride, Takes a Nap, 
Breaks Up a Turkey Supper. A Primitive Elevator, Dr. Burle- 
son Pays a Reward for the Return of His Buggy. Declines 
the Noun Res, Builds a Gymnasium, Plays Hot Ball 204 

Chapter XXV Controversy Between President Burleson and 
Principal of the Female Department, Called Before the Board 
of Trustees, Submitted Their Grievances in Writing. Each 
Appears in His Own Behalf, Findings of the Trustees, 
Accepted as Satisfactory, Stringent Resolutions of the Board, 
High Regard of Trustees for Heads of Both Departments. . . .213 

Table of Contexts. xiii 

Chapter XXVI Controversy Between President Burleson and 
Prof. Clark Passes Beyond Their Control, Taken Up by 
Friends, Permeates the Entire Community, Publication of a 
Pamphlet Precipitates a Church Trial, Exciting Scenes, A 
Close Vote, General Houston Present, Meeting Between 
General Houston and Dr. Burleson, Revival in the Independ- 
ence Church, Dr. Burleson's Triumph, Letters of the Faculty 
and Senior Class Sustaining Him, General Houston Pledges 
Dr. Burleson His Undying Devotion, Houston's Deposition by 
the Texas Legislature, Visits Independence to Confer With 
His Friend, Dr. Burleson 222 

@hapter XXVII Resigns the Presidency of Baylor University 
at Independence, Letter to the Board of Trustees, Exalted 
Spirit Manifested by Dr.- Burleson in Retiring from the 
School, Summary of Ten Years' Work at Independence 233 

CHArTEi: XXVIII Union Association Mother of the Convention, 
Appoints a Central Committee, Meeting Called, Convention 
Organized September 8th, 1848, at Anderson, List of Churches 
and Delegates, Dr. H. L. Graves, First President, Rufus C. 
Burleson First Corresponding Secretary, Other Officers. Con- 
stitution, Report of Committee on Establishing a Paper, 
Advise that Paper be Established, but Convention to Assume 
no Financial Responsibility, Character and Work of Conven- 
tion, and its Influence on the People of Texas 236 

Chapter XXIX Dr. Burleson's Appearance in tlie State Con- 
vention. September 8th, 184S, Marks His Entrance Into Public 
Life in Texas. Report of Committee on Education. First Bap- 
tist Paper in Texas, Mr. Burleson Invites the Convention to 
Hold Second Session in Houston, Convention Met May 11th, 
1849. Re-elected Corresponding Secretary. Mr. Burleson's 
Report as Corresponding Secretary, List of Baptist Preachers 
in Texas in 1849, Conditions in 1849 and 1901 Compared. 
Early Texas Heroes and Heroines. Their Sacrifices Make 
Present Conditions Possible 246 

Chapter XXX In 1852 Convention Meets in Marshall. 1853 in 
Huntsville, At Both Meetings Dr. Burleson Renews His 
Efforts for the Establishment of a Paper, His Report as Cor- 
responding Secretary, Reviews the Year's Work. Baylor Uni- 
versity. Meetings of the Board of Directors, J. W. D. Creath, 
His Consecration and Character, His Saddle Horse, John the 
Baptist, Dr. Burleson's Report for 1853, Work Encouraging 
Along All Lines, Special Committee Appointed to Visit Baylor 
University, President Burleson and Prof. Clark Made Honor- 
ary Members of the Convention -. . . . 256 

xiv Table of ( -oktents. 

"MAi'i ki: XXXI Meeting of the State Convention in 1S.">4. Bap- 
lisi Affairs Reach the High Water .Mark, Baylor University 
Reported by the Committee and Trustees to Be in a Flourish- 
ing Condition, Bounding Report of Rev. Isaac Parks on Minis- 
terial Education, Annual Report of Corresponding Secretary 
Burleson, Last Official Reporl to the Convention, Tenders 
His Resignation to Devote Himself to the Interest of the 
School. Recommends Rev. J. B. Stiteler as His Successor, 
Rev. C. II. Stiteler Elected 264 

Chapteb XXXII Importance of the Office of Corresponding Sec- 
retary, All Work Done Largely Under His Advice. Air. Bur- 
leson Having no Precedents, Blazed His Own Way. Made His 
own Path, Attends Meeting of the Union Association, Writes 
the Circular Letter, "Preaches the Introductory Sermon, De- 
livers the Semi-Centennial Address at Sealy in 1890, Return 
io Convention, Report of Committee on Education. Indian 
Missions. Pioneers Thoroughly Saturated with the Spirit. 
Committee Appointed to Open Correspondence with the B > ird 
of Managers of the American Indian Mission Association. . . . 272 

Chapteb XXXJII Convention Ready To Place Any Honor at D;\ 
Burleson's Command. Elected Vice-President in 185G, A Jubi- 
lee Session, Last Paragraph in the Proceedings. II. Clark 
and P. B. Chandler the only Known Survivors of These 
Early Conventions. Convention Adjourned to Meet in Cald- 
well, but Place Changed to Huntsville on Account of Severe 
Drought. Convention of 1837, General Houston a Delegate and 
Offers Report on Indian Missions, Romantic Chapter in Gen. 
Houston's Life. Lives with the Indians, Conversant with 
Indian Character, and Competent to Discuss Indian Missions, 
Dr. Burleson's Report and Resolution on Indian Mission-. 
Dr. H. F. Buckner and His Consecrated Co-Laborers 282 

Chapteb XXXIV Texas Pathmakers Came in a Struggle, Lived 
Amid Conflict, Worked Without Means, and Built for All 
Time. Not Moved by the Courage of Cowards, but From a 
Sense of Duty and Love for Humanity. To Say They Were 
Not Successful Would Be to Brand a Thousand Records as 
Brazen Lies. Dr. Burleson Elected President of the Conven- 
tion in 1S5S. Re-elected in 1859. Rev. H. Garrett Reports 
Baylor Booming. New Buildings Erected. Dr. Burleson Takes 
a Vacation, Travels East. Visits the Mammoth Cave. Bottom- 
less Pit. Fat Man's Misery, Bunyan's Way, Echo River, 
Gorki's Dome. Methodist Church 291 

Table of ( Jontents. xv 


Chapter XXXV Dr. Burleson's Dominating, Absorbing Purp >s 
Was to Make Baylor University the Peer of Any Institu- 
tion of the Continent, A Man of Many Ideas. Interested in 
All Public Questions. Early Canvass for Railroads, Elected 
Vice-President at the Fifteenth Session of the State Conven- 
tion, Published Proceedings of State Convention in 1848 and 
1898. First Catalogue of Baylor University in 1832, and 
Catalogue of Same School in 1898 Compared, Curtain on First 
Era of Dr. Burleson's Life Dropped, Scene Shifted to Waco. 299 

Chapter XXXVI Education in Texas Under Spanish Dominion 
and Mexican Rule. Population, Society, Missions, Revolution 
in Mexico, The Empire. Republic, Constitution of 1824. Pro- 
visions for Education Under the Federal Constitution. Con- 
stitution of Coahuila and Texas. Provisions for Public 
Schools in the State Constitution, The First American 
School. Report of Almonte, Efforts of the Colonists Toward 
Education. The First Female Academy in Texas. Independ- 
ence Academy, Baylor University, Description of a Mexican 
School ill 1825, Character of the American Colonist. Gen. 
Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Revolt of the American Col- 
onists 303 

Chapter XXXVII Education in Texas Under the Republic, 
The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution of 183 >, 
The First Congress of the Republic, Establishment of Schools, 
The First Charter of the Republic to Independence Academy, 
The Act to Establish a State University, President Lamar's 
Message on Education. Area of the Republic. Land Grants 
for Educational Purposes. Baylor University at Independ- 
ence, School at San Augustine 313 

Chapter XXXVIII Progress of Education in Texas Und t 
State Rule, Annexation of Texas to the United States. Texas 
Retains Her Unappropriated Public Domain, The Constitu- 
tion of 1S4.J, Legislative Provision for Education. Dr. R. C. 
Burleson Arrives in Texas. The Civil War 1861 to 1865, The 
Constitution of Texas as a State in the Confederacy. Sur- 
render of the Confederacy, The Interregnum Followed by 
Military Occupation. The Peabody Fund. Its Influence on 
Education 321 

Chapter XXXIX Education in Texas Under the Provisional 
Government. Military Occupation. Emancipation Order. Ham- 
ilton Provisional Governor. Organization of the Civil Govern- 
ment. Election Order. Constitution of 1866, Throckmorton 
Governor. Provision for Education. Republican Reconstruc- 
tion, Civil Governor Removed. E. M. Pease Appointed Pro- 
visional Governor. Constitution of 1868. Provision < for Educa- 
tion. First Public Free School in Texas was Opened Septem- 
ber 4th. 1871, Dr. B. Sears' Report as General Agent of the 
Peabody Fund. The Taxpayers' Convention 329 

xvi Table of Contexts. 


Chapter XL The Peabody Education Fund, George Peabody, 
His Character, His Death, Munificent Bequest, Dr. Barnas 
Sears General Agent of the Fund, Dr. Rufus C. Burleson's 
Appointment as Lecturer for the Fund in Texas, His First 
Quarterly Report 335 

Chapter XLI Address of Hou. Robert C. Winthrop, Chairman, 
Before the Board of Trustees of the Peabody Education 
Fund, Appropriation of the Fund to Texas in 1S77, Differ- 
ences Regarding Appointment of Superintendents of Peabody 
Schools, Dr. R. C. Burleson's Letter on the Subject, Annual 
Report of Dr. B. Sears for 1S7T. Dr. Burleson Charged With 
Sectarian Bias, Vigorous Denial. More of the Pioneers of 
Texas, Joint Canvass of the State by Drs. Sears and Burle- 
son ; 345 

Chapter XLII Progress of Public Education in Texas, Applica- 
tion of the Peabody Fund, Aid to City Schools, Dr. Burleson's 
Report as State Lecturer, Dr. Sears' Report as General Agent 
for 187S, Dr. Burleson's Great Interest in Education in 
Texas, Offers His Services to Dr. Sears Without Compensa- 
tion, Offer Accepted 353 

Chapter XLIII A Brief Review of the Administrations of Gov- 
ernors Coke and Hubbard, with Reference to Education, 
Governor Roberts' First Administration, State Teachers' Con- 
vention at Austin, Dr. Sears' Proposition for a Normal In- 
stitute, Dr. Burleson's Letter to Governor Roberts on Free 
Schools, The Public on Governor Roberts and Dr. Burleson 
Because of the Veto. Dr. Burleson's Reply to a Newspaper 
Attack, on His Letter to Governor Roberts 360 

Chapter XLIV Texas State Educational Association, Texas 
Teachers' Convention Organized at Mexia, An Important 
Called Meeting at Mexia August 9th, 1S79, A Convention of 
Teachers at Austin, Dr. Burleson's Statement of Convention's 
Work, The Teachers' Recommendations to me Legislature, 
Committee Report on University of Texas, Dr. Burleson 
Chairman, Last Meeting of Texas Teachers' Convention. 
Ceased to Exist Where it was Organized June 30th, 1880, 
Merged into the Texas State Educational Association. Gov. 
O. M. Roberts Addressed the Meeting, Organization of the 
T. S. E. A.. July 1st, 1S80, Its Continued Success 371 

Chapter XLV Dr. R. C. Burleson's Address Before the Texas 
Teachers' Convention in Galveston June 30th, 1S90, Pithy and 
Pointed, Breezy and Bright, Witty and Wise, Learned and 
Logical, Education. Public and Private, The Sam Houston 
Normal Institute Suggested for the First Time, Other 
Matters 382 

Table of Contents. xvii 

Chapter XLVI Progress of Education in Texas, Development 
of State Institutions, Dr. B. Sears' Report for 1879, Establish- 
ment of State University, Corner Stone Laid November 17th, 
1S83, Educational Measures Passed During Gov. Roberts- 
Administration, Prairie View Made a Branch of the Univer- 
sity, Medical University at Galveston Opened October 1st, 
1891, Summer Normals, Value of School Property, Charitable 
Institutions, Generosity of the People in Favor of Education 393 

Chapter XLVII Resolution of the East Texas Convention Octo 
ber 12th, 1S67; Organization of the Baptist General Associa- 
tion of Texas July 17th, 1868, Gen. James E. Harrison, of 
Waco, Elected President, R. C. Burleson. Corresponding Sec- 
retary, Gen. Joseph W. Speight, Chairman of Committee to 
Remodel Constitution, Dr. Burleson Moves to Send Fraternal 
Delegates to State Convention, Dr. Burleson Elected Corre- 
sponding Secretary for the Fourth Time 402 

Chapter XLVIII Growth of the General Association, Dr. Burle- 
son Elected President at Jefferson July 25th, 1873; Re-elected 
at Dallas, 1871; Sherman, 1875; Waco, 1876; Paris, 1877; 
Fort Worth, 1878; Pittsburg, 1879; Served the Association as 
Corresponding Secretary and President Eleven Consecutive 
Years, Movement to Establish Organic Connection Between 
General Association and Waco University, The Pott's Reso- 
lution, Movement Consummated at Sulphur Springs in 1882, 
A Sketch of the Consolidation Movement Resulting in the 
Union of all the General Baptist Conventions in the State. . . 407 

Chapter XLIX First Session of the Consolidated Convention in 
Waco, June 26th, 1SS6, Dr. Burleson Member of the Board 
of Directors, Constitution of the Convention, Dr. Burleson 
Continued on the Board of Directors at Dallas in 1887, and 
Made Chairman of Committee on Colored Population. Bishop 
College, Vice-President in 1889 and 1890, Elected President 
in 1892 at Belton and Re-elected at Gainesville in 1893 415 

Chapter L Dr. Burleson and His School Work at Waco. Trinity 
High School, S. G. O'Brien, First President. Waco Classical 
School, J. C. West, President, Dr. Burleson Elected President 
and Name Changed to Waco University, Gen. Speight's Let- 
ter, Dr. Burleson Visits Waco April 15, 1861, Accepts the 
Presidency, Civil War of 1861 Again, Professors and Students 
Enlist in the Confederate Army, Dr. Burleson Chaplain of the 
Fifteenth Regiment, Session of 1865, Co-Education. Resolu- 
tion of Trustees 423 

xviii Table of Contexts. 


Chapter LI Years that Follow the War, a Crisis in the History 
of all Enterprises, People Restless, Changing Conditions, Dr. 
Burleson Quick to Grasp the Situation, Knew What to Do, 
and Did It, Girded on His Armor, Took the Field and 
Preached, Lectured and Wrote, Confidence in the Security of 
Waco Inspired, Elected President of Sheveport University, 
Degree of D. D. Conferred by Howard College, Dr. Burleson 
Keeps Track of Old Students, Reference to the Manner in 
Which He Marked Catalogues, Every Page in His Working 
Testament Marked, Address to the Baptists of Texas 433 

Chapter LII Reconstruction of the Educational Affairs of 
Texas Baptists, Question of Removing the Schools from In- 
dependence, Educational Union, Centennial Commission, 
Navasota Resolutions, Dr. Burleson Attends American Bap- 
tist Educational Commission in 1874, Receives the Degree of 
LL.D. from Keachi College, Unification, Hayden Preamble 
and Resolutions at Ennis, Issue Joined, Line Drawn, and 
Every Baptist Steps on One Side or the Other, Baptist State 
Convention at Lampasas, Resolutions on Removal. Committee 
Appointed, Dr. Burleson's Position, Joint Meeting of Com- 
mittees from Convention and Association at Temple, Plan of 
Consolidation Adopted. Consolidated University Goes to 
Waco, Female College to Belton 442 

Chapter LIII Results of Baptist Educational Reconstruction in 
Texas, First Session of the Consolidated School, Dr. Burle- 
son's Remarks, Transfer of Property of Waco University, 
Gen. Speight, President, and W. H. Jenkins, Secretary, of 
the Old Board, Their Faithfulness, B. H. Carroll, President 
of the New Board, His First Report to the Convention, New 
College Campus Purchased, and New Buildings Erected, In 
1S93 All Debts Paid, Co-Education Readopted After Ten 
Years' Trial, Dr. Burleson a Hard Worker, In Baylor. His 
Rosiest Dream Realized, Exposure in Early Days in Texas, 
Advanced in Life. Elected President Emeritus on Full Pay, 
His Letter of Acceptance. Trustees Kneel, Dr. Burleson Leads 
in Prayer, Public Career Closes in a Spirit of Human Mag- 
nanimity, and Flow of Christ inn Fellowship and Love 457 

After-Word 406 

PART II "Funeral of Dr. Burleson. 
(Waco Auditorium. May 15th, 1901.) 

Prayer by Dr. A. M. Johnson 475 

Funeral Sermon by Dr. W. H. Parks 47f> 

Address by Dr. S. J. Anderson 481 

Address by Supt. J. C. Lattimore 483 

(Representing Public Schools.) 

Table of Contexts. xix 

Speech of M. B. Davis 486 

(Representing The Press.) 

Speech of Prof. W. II. Pool 487 

(Representing Old Students.) 

Speech of Dr. Addison ( 'lark 488 

(Representing Sister Schools.) 

Speech of Dr. D. R. Wallace 489 

(Representing Faculty of 1831.) 

Speech of Rev. E. A. Puthuff 491 

(Representing Missionary Students to Foreign Lands.) 

Speech of Mr. E. P. Alldredge 494 

(Representing Student Body of Baylor.) 

Speech of Mayor J. W. Riggins .' 496 

(Representing City of Waco.,) 

Address by Dr. O. H. Cooper 498 

(Representing Baylor Faculty.) 

Speech of Hon. W. B. Denson 499 

(Representing Baylor Trustees.) 
Resolutions Adopted by the Board of Trustees of Baylor Uni- 
versity 501 

Speech of Hon. W. S. Baker 506 

(Representing Old Students.) 

Resolutions Adopted by the Faculty of Baylor University 507 

Address by Dr. O. I. Halbert "Home Life of Dr. Burleson'' 510 

(Contributed after the Funeral.) 
Address by Hon. W. B. Denson "Dr. Burleson a Model for 

Texas Youths" 512 

(Contributed after the Funeral.) 

PART III Chapel Talks by Dr. Burleson. 

Introduction 521 

Young People: Their Duties and Perils 522 

Moses. The Grand Model of Preparation 524 

Jonah, or Running Away from Duty 520 

Do Thyself no Harm 528 

Absalom or Filial Ingratitude 531 

There is a Time to Laugh 533 

The Crime of Parental Partiality 535 

xx Table of Contents. 

PART IV Selected Addresses and Articles by 

Dr. Burleson. 

General Sam Houston. Address delivered before the Texas Leg- 
islature March 2d, 1893, at the Memorial Services on the One 
Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of Gen. Sam Houston, 
and the 57th of Texas Independence. (This address covers 

all the various points of Gen. Houston's eventful life.) 543 

Gen. L. S. Ross A True Model 588 

Senator Richard Coke 593 

The Mirage in Texas 595 

An Early Texas Missionary Among the Wolves 597 

PART V Dr. Burleson as a Preacher. 

(With Selected Sermons "by Dr. Burleson.) 

"Dr. Burleson as a Preacher," by Hon. W. B. Denson G07 

Sermon on "Family Government" 612 

"Behold the Lamb of God" His 57th Anniversary Sermon, de- 
livered Nov. 12th, 1S97 632 

Sermon on "The Deaconship" Dedicated to the Deacons of 
Texas 651 

PART VI Many of "The Old Guard" Series of 


Introduction 663 

James R. Jenkins 667 

The Old Guard Their Work and Co-laborers 661 

Wm. M. Tryon 669 

James Huckins 675 

Z. N. Morrell 681 

R. E. B. Baylor 689 

Noah T. Byars 095 

Hosea Garrett 706 

D. B. Morrill 703 

A. C. Horton 706 

Isaac Van Zandt 712 

A. G. Haynes 714 

Tyrell J. Jackson 717 

Gail Borden, Jr 721 

T. J. Pilgrim T29 

Mrs. Dickinson "The Heroine of the Alamo" 735 

M. V. Smith 741 

Table of Contents. xxi 

PART VII Articles by Dr. Burleson on Texas History. 

(Condensed and Interesting Sketch of Texas History, dis- 
cussed under the "Seven Eras," with many articles, 
throwing light on Texas History, gathered by Dr. Burle- 
son during 54 years of study and association with Texas 

Pioneers and Patriots). 


Texas Name, Size, Climate, History 749 

A ddress to Texas Veterans 764 

Era of Missions 779 

Era of Fredonians or Filibusters 783 

* Era of Colonization 792 

Stephen F. Austin 798 

Revolution 801 

Siege and Fall of the Alamo 815 

The Fort Parker Massacre 817 

The Mexican War 826 

The Great Comanche Raid of 1840 834 

Gen. Woll's Invasion and the Mier Expedition S40 

Presidents of the Republic 847 

Annexation 856 

Seventh Era of Texas History 861 

Hon. J. Pinkney Henderson 867 

Hon. George Tyler Wood 869 

Hon. E. M. Pease 873 

Gen. Ed. Burleson 876 

Railroads 881 


Dr. Rufus C. Burleson Frontispiece 

Jonathan Burleson 26 

The Old Mountain Home, Alabama 29 

Cold Cave 31 

Flint River, where Dr. Burleson was Baptized 35 

Mt. Pisgah Church. First Church Dr. Burleson was a Member of. 54 

A Page from Dr. Burleson's Bible 67 

A. S. Lipscomb Ill 

On the Old College Campus at Independence 114 

xxii List of Illustrations. 


Old Baylor University Buildings at Independence 121 

Dr. Burleson and Wife in 1853 135 

Mrs. Georgia J. Burleson 140 

Richard B. Burleson 161 

Pool where Dr. Burleson Baptized Gen. Sam Houston 16G 

Baptistry of the Independence Church 168 

Dr. Burleson's First Faculty at Baylor University 170 

Different Portraits of Dr. Burleson 195 

Baylor University 309 

The E. C. and R, A. Burleson Home, Waco 414 

S. L. Morris and Family 470 

R. A. Burleson and Family 470 

Dr. Burleson's Grave 516 

Gen. Sam Houston's Grave 583 

James Huckins 675 

Z. N. Morrell 681 

R. E. B. Baylor 689 

Grave of Judge R. E. B. Baylor 694 

X. T. Byars 695 

Hosea Garrett 700 

A. G. Haynes 714 

Gail Borden 721 

The First Sunday School in Texas 733 

Landing of LaSalle 750 

Murder of LaSalle 755 

Santa Anna Behind Lieut. Sylvester 762 

Executive Mansion 764 

Aztec Indians Discovering Texas 765 

Siege of Alamo 771 

Santa Anna at San Jacinto 773 

Santa Anna Before Gen. Sam Houston. 775 

Battle of San Jacinto 777 

The Alamo 780 

Priests and Attendants Leaving the Alamo 782 

Mrs. Long Firing the Cannon 791 

Stephen F. Austin 798 

Santa Anna 804 

Bowie Being Carried over the Line 816 

Presidents of the Republic 847 

The Governors of Texas 860. 864 

The State Capitols 872 

Gen. Ed. Burleson 877 






A long life has passed under view, the story of which is 
recited in the following pages. It was not a life of idleness 
and ease, but one of ceaseless planning, and constant toiling. 

To write the life of an idler would be an easy task, since 
Paul by one of his masterly strokes in a coniniunication to 
Timothy, furnishes a matchless model for the biography of 
all the slothful who lived both before his day and in all suc- 
ceeding ages. "Wandering about from house to house; and 
not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things 
which they ought not." 

To write the life of a busy man is a very different propo- 
sition, and the energy of the biographer can be no less than 
the hero of the narrative he faithfully relates. 

The value of all history consists in its accuracy and relia- 
bility, and hence the task of the historian is by no means 
trifling, but both difficult and arduous. Oliver Wendell 
Holmes states this truth most forcefully when he says : 

"The age of mystery with its hoarded power, 
That girth the tyrant in his storied tower, 
Have past and faded like a dream of youth, 
And riper eras ask for history's truth." 

As the whole mass of uncounted and countless stars that 
form the firmament is composed of single shining specks, so 
is the sum of a busy man's life made up of little events, which 
in their concrescence, form a mighty force. To recite every 
act, and reproduce every event is impossible, just as an effort 
would be to enumerate the stars. The work of the biographer 

4 The Life and Writings of 

therefore, like the task of the portrait painter, is only an 
honest effort to reproduce the original as nearly as possible. 

Too often the lives of men, who have won renown, are 
hurled before our vision like resplendent meteors. We are 
dazzled with the view, because he is enrobed with all his dis- 
tinguishing perfections and eminence, we can not rightly 
appreciate his character or methods, because we do not see 
his previous footsteps. In the present case, we have com- 
menced our story even beyond Dr. Burleson's birth, moved 
along in orderly procession, withholding nothing intentionally 
from the public, connecting his boyhood with his manhood, 
his child life on the frontier of Alabama, with his residence 
in Waco, at the head of a great institution of learning. 

We have performed the service with some degree of en- 
thusiasm, have been assiduous and diligent in our search for 
facts, painstaking and careful in our investigations, and loyal 
to our trust, but are aware that the work is imperfect. 

Some will read this book, and recall incidents in Dr. Bur- 
leson's life not recorded, and wonder why they were omitted. 
Let all such critics bear in mind that the book would have 
been subject to the same criticism if they had been the author. 

Others will say, the facts of Dr. Burleson's life have not 
been correctly recited; others will say his character has not 
been properly presented; still others will say our deductions 
are faulty and illogical. 

Amid all this adverse comment, we will derive comfort 
and consolation from the reflection, that from Lord Macaulay 
down, critics are but men, frail and fallible men. 


Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 5 



Genealogy General Remarks Importance Attached 
to the Subject by Royal Families Leads to Ances- 
tral Worship Origin and Genealogy of the Burle- 
son Family Sir Edward Burleson Aaron Burle- 
son Genl. Ed. Burleson Dr. R. C. Burleson. 

^^ INCE the shimmering shining sun arose from its bed 
sggEc of nothingness in the east, imparting light and 
* warmth to a chilly cheerless earth, there has never 
been a time in the world's history, when the subject of gene- 
alogy was not considered of the highest importance. 

Indeed it has its origin in the first chapter of all history, 
for God said after the work of creation had been finished and 
pronounced good, "Let us make man in our own image." 

Closely following the execution of this purpose, He 
assumes the role of the genealogist and declares "These are 
the generations of the heavens and earth." 

Following this example, nearly all the Old Testament 
writers evidently studied the subject most profoundly, 
and devote much time to giving the lineal descent of the 
ancient Patriarchs and Prophets. 

Not only so, but the first sentence in the New Testament 
is, "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ," followed by 
the Savior's genealogy. These inspired writers, while devot- 
ing less space, and covering more circumscribed lines, attach 
even greater importance to the subject, for they fully appre- 
ciate the fact that the Divine authority for the New Dispen- 
sation, depends upon their ability to establish the truth 

G The Life and Writings of 

unmistakably, that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, since 
He was the Alpha and Omega of the Dispensation of Grace. 

From the creation of Adam on down to the birth of 
Christ, prophets, priests, and apostles magnify the subject. 

The early historians using the Bible as a model of nar- 
ration, included nearly all history under the head of gene- 
alogy, making no distinction between current happenings, 
tribal events, and the ancestors of men. 

Later on, as the generations increased, it became a distinct 
branch of learning, and was pursued with much assiduity. 
The ambition of the people to present unbroken lines of 
descent in primitive days, was carried to a most absurd extent, 
and gave rise to Totemism, a form of religion originating in 
Egypt, and handed down to the present, through successive 
generations of semi-savage people. 

A man's Totem may be of the animal or vegetable world, 
but all have Totems, to which their descent is clearly traced 
with all collateral branches. 

Among the Chinese, devotion to this science, and the 
awful sacredness with which genealogical connection was 
worked out and preserved, has evidently led to ancestral wor- 
ship, to which they are wedded, and which they so successfully 

In Greece and Athens, so much importance was attached 
to the subject, and so much stress laid upon the matter of 
family connection, both by the Aristocracy and Plebians, 
that a contestant in the athletic sports of these people, was 
required to present his pedigree. 

From the sixth to the eleventh century, enthusiasm on 
this subject seems to have subsided to a large extent, but the 
days of Feudalism in Europe, created what the leaders 
thought to be a necessity for them to establish their superiority 
over the common vassal, so that the spoils might fall only to 
the better classes. Scholars were therefore, put to work by 
Feudal Lords, to trace ancestral lines. The disorder and 
darkness of the preceding centuries, presented difficulties 
which obstructed their path of sober research, and supplied 
an excuse for making their escape into the realm of imagina- 
tion and conjecture. 

Little trouble therefore was had in clearly connecting 

Dr. Eufus C. Burleson 7 

these lords with some famous progenitor; when the property 
ruthlessly wrested from an inferior and weaker people, became 
theirs by divine right. 

Coming on down to the effete despotisms of the East, and 
monarchical countries of Europe, the question of genealogy 
is not only a question of family pride, but one of much prac- 
tical value and utility; at the same time, as was the case in 
the days of Feudalism, society is lead by those who are able 
to trace their lineage to a royal source. Political positions 
depend upon family connections; vast landed estates become 
the property of royal families exclusively ; far-reaching trans- 
portation facilities are controlled by favorites of the Throne, 
and nearly all valuable franchises granted to those who have 
descended from royal stock. 

In these countries title comes with birth, title means 
possessions, possessions mean position, and position means 
power, whether brains come with birth or not. 

In Great Britain, less than 30,000 people out of a total 
population of 42,000,000 own the landed estate of the United 
Kingdom, and every officer of the government, from Edward 
VII, to his equerries, holds his position by right of royal 

What is affirmed of Great Britain may be said also of 
Germany, Kussia, Austria and other countries of Europe, 
and in a much wider sense, is true also, of the centralized 
despotisms of the east, social, civil and financial, among 
these people, little men intellectually speaking, are made great 
by the favors of fortune, and great minds suppressed by the 
frowns of the same senseless potentate. 

In these countries of slow development, and fettered 
brains, the answer to the question, "who am I?" is, "I am royal 
or nothing." So vital are the issues involved and so much 
depends upon descent, that genealogy is classed with astron- 
omy, mathematics, and other sciences; is governed by rules 
and principles, and in many places pursued as a learned pro- 

Here, where people have lived from the dawn of time, 
and generations have run far into the thousands, the line of 
descent, and ancestral connection, is so ramified, complicated 

8 The Life and Writings of 

and intricate, the task of the genealogical expert or professor, 
involves endless work and research; and the result a matter 
of such moment, he is richly rewarded for his service. Then 
too, the intricacy of the proposition makes room for perpetrat- 
ing frauds ; these frauds bring to the front rival claimants for 
a throne or valuable property, which conditions have precipi- 
tated some of the bloodiest wars, in the annals of the world. 

Such is the complexity of the question, and with so many 
difficulties is it beset, that an unbroken, and clearly estab- 
lished line covering more than a dozen generations, is very 
rare; although Victoria, late Queen of England, and Empress 
of India, claimed to have clearly traced her family connection 
to King David. Menelok, King of Abyssinia, claims to have 
established the fact that he was a consanguineous relative to 
the Queen of Sheba; and many of the Arabian Shieks have 
pedigrees, conclusively showing a direct and unbroken descent 
from Noah. 

Family trees are planted, upon which branches spring by 
the creative touch of the unscrupulous, professional genealo- 
gist, in any desired direction, to which nutrition is furnished 
by any distinguished blood desired. 

Missing, or broken links in lines of descent, are fur- 
nished for a stipulated fee on application as readily as a skill- 
ful attorney could write a legal contract. And since a fam- 
ily in Continental or Eastern countries amounts to little, in 
the social and poltical realm, without a coat of arms, ingenius 
artists furnish these ancient evidences of family distinction 
upon short notice for an interesting consideration. 

It has been said, "the road to fame is royal." This is 
unquestionably true in some countries, but not the whole 
truth; it is sometimes a matter of cold-blooded business. 

It is not asserted that the laws of primogeniture and 
heredity, in civil, social and business affairs, are either al- 
ways disastrous and unsatisfactory; far from it; some thrones 
have been filled by hereditary monarchs that were towers of 
strength, who designed to promote the welfare of the coun- 
try and weal of the people. Vast fortunes have been con- 
trolled by men who were moved in all enterprises by patriotic 
and philanthropic motives. The scepter in society has been 

Dr. Ruftts C. Btjrlesox. 9 

wielded by leaders whose lives were well ordered and whose 
purposes were pure; but the correctness of these systems is 
not justified by these exceptional instances. They are mere 
accidents. !Nero, the demon, was made Emperor of Rome by 
the same rules and process that Bess the Good was made Queen 
of England. 

In democratic America some attention is paid, some 
thought bestowed, and some study made of family history and 
genealogical descent, but for a very dissimilar purpose. Here 
commanders of our mighty armies rise from the ranks, tailors, 
tanners and woodchoppers become Presidents; mill boys our 
matchless orators; farm hands our greatest authors, and rail- 
road laborers our college professors. In the struggle of life, 
progenitors, antecedents, and connections count for very lit- 
tle, and family history is merely a matter of family pride and 
satisfaction. True, there are castes and classes among the 
American people, and sharp distinctions in society, but these 
conditions are not the result of fortunate birth or kinship; 
they are due solely, and, we say with pride, exclusively to 
the excellence of our civil institutions, the cultivation of the 
mind, and proper use of opportunities. 

Here, as in no other country on the globe, the fetters 
have been stricken from the soul, the shackles from the mind, 
and the standard of merit alone established. Every condi- 
tion is favorable for the highest moral and intellectual devel- 
opment, and opportunities are open to all alike, regardless 
and irrespective of family antecedents and connections. Still 
there is both pleasure and profit in the study of family his- 
tory, and satisfaction derived from a knowledge of our origin. 
For these reasons, and for this purpose, it is proposed to take 
a cursory glance at the lineage and history of the Burleson 

"The history of a family is like that of a race. They 
stand apart by themselves. Their patronymic is their birth- 
mark. They trace it along the line of generations. In 
retrospection and prospection it is with them a living string. 
The diverging lines and strains of other blood are lost to sight 
and forgotten when a few years have past, but the paternal 
name stands as a beacon. Those who bear it, ask what those 

10 The Life axd Writings of 

who have borne it before have been, and what those to bear 
it hereafter, shall be. 

This is not a mere string of names and dates. The cen- 
turies come and go, and with them men live and die, but the 
soul of the father lives in the son who bears his name. Dr. 
S. S. Burleson, an eminent philologist, who devoted much 
study to the origin of the Burleson family and the etymology 
of the name says, "there is reason to conclude that the name is 
of Scandinavian origin. It may be fairly formed from the 
Danish word 'Burlare,' and the common affix son or sen, 
which taken together, and used in a patronymic sense, plainly 
signify the children of the 'heavy timbered hills.' I have 
been assured by graduates of the universities of Upsala and 
Copenhagen that the name was clearly Scandinavian, and 
was in use in their countries at this time. 

The Burlesons may be joined by the ties of blood with 
the fierce Xorwegian vikings, whose ships ploughed all the 
western seas, or with the stern and strong Danish invaders of 
England, in the days of her early history. These men have 
left their mark upon the ages. It was no curse to England 
that Canute, Harold and Hardicanute ruled on her shores. 
They brought elements of great strength, and a descent from 
such ancestry is not inglorious." 

While speaking thus positively, there was evidently some 
doubt in this great scholar's mind as to the correctness of his 
conclusions, for he goes on to remark, "we may be exiles from 
Erin, and find our place somewhere between Malin head and 
old Cape Clear, or, we may look in the land of Owen Glen- 
dower, and find our home between the Severn and the Dee. 
On the cliffs of Scotia we may plant our feet, and by loch 
and frith from Pentland to Solway, seek the glen where our 
fathers were nurtured. The chalk cliffs of eastern Albion 
may be the bound of our search, or we may pass onward 

Round the shores where runic Odin. 

Howls his war song to the gale. 
Round the land where rough Lafoden. 

"Whirls to death the roaring whale. 

Again, we may stand on The Skaw of Juttance, and 

Dk. Rufus C. Burlesox. 11 

gazing across the waters of the Cattegal to Gattland say here, 
or there was our place, in the days of our fathers." 

Another learned member of the family, who devoted 
much time to a study of its history says, "The family is of 
Welch origin, and the name comes from Buries or Burley, 
from which the English adjective is derived. Buries or 
Burley, originally meant a mountaineer, or thick, heavy 
strong man, and originated in the mountains of Wales. The 
name 400 years ago was spelled Burleyson, which is still 
retained by some members of the family." 

However this may be, whether of Welch, Celtic or Scan- 
dinavian origin the Burlesons may be said to be of English 
descent for the reason we find them in England and Wales 
during the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries and by their cour- 
age, enterprise and loyalty, successfully assisting in repelling 
all invasions, placing an English ship on every sea, planting 
the British standard upon every continent, encircling the 
earth with its commerce, and aiding in making Great Britain 
the mightiest empire in strength and extent the world ever 

The American branch of the Burleson family are 
descendants of two brothers, Sir Edward Burleson, who emi- 
grated from England in 1716, and settled in Connecticut, 
and Aaron who came from the same country eight years later 
in 1724, and settled in ISTorth Carolina. Dr. R. C. Burleson 
states that Sir Edward and Aaron were brothers. Dr. S. S. 
Burleson states that the exact relationship was not known. 
They spelled their names in the same way, and possessed some 
family characteristics in common, but it is by no means cer- 
tain they were as closely related as Dr. R. C. Burleson be- 
lieved. The continent at that time was very sparsely settled, 
and a congenial neighbor a thing not to be despised. Besides, 
tribes of savage Indians infested every part of the country, 
and they objected to the settlement of their territory by the 
Europeans, consequently settlements or colonies frequently 
suffered from their incursions unless strong enough to suc- 
cessfully resist their assaults. With these conditions in mind, 
it would seem, when Aaron decided to remain here in 1724, 
without personal predilection for any particular part of an 

12 The Life axd Weitings of 

almost unknown wilderness, he would have preferred for 
many reasons Connecticut, where Sir Edward had settled 
eight years previous. 

If they were brothers, they seemed to have entertained 
widely different views on many questions, as they drifted in 
opposite directions, and maintained separate family relations. 
Sir Edward and his descendants, being what is commonly 
termed northern people, while Aaron and his progeny were 
southern in sympathy and sentiment. 

An incident is related of the war between the states, 
which furnishes some evidence that Edward and Aaron were 
brothers, though it is by no means conclusive. 

After the battle of Petersburg, Virginia, April 2d, 1865, 
between the armies of the North and South, a Federal cavalry 
regiment captured a squad of hungry Confederates. A Con- 
federate soldier called to a comrade and begged a crust of 
bread, saying he had tasted no food for twenty-four hours. 
The comrade replied that he had no bread and was in precisely 
the same fix. A gallant Federal officer pulled off his well- 
filled haversack and said, "here boys, divide this between you, 
for humanity's sake." The Confederate said, "please tell 
me your name that I may never forget your timely gen- 
erosity." The Federal colonel replied, "My name is John 
Burleson, of Vermont." 

"John Burleson of Vermont, John Burleson of Ver- 
mont," ejaculated the surprised Confederate, "Why my name 
is John Burleson, have vou Burlesons in Vermont?" 

"Oh, yes scores and hundreds of them. Have you Bur- 
lesons in the South ?" 

"Thousands and thousands," the hungry Confederate 

This incident led to a very extensive correspondence 
between the Northern and Southern branches of the family, 
after the close of the war, which brought out the fact already 
stated, that Sir Edward came from England in 1716, and 
settled in Jewett City, Connecticut, and Aaron came in 1724, 
and failing to locate his brother settled in Buncombe, now 
Mitchell county, North Carolina. 

Some stress has been laid on the relationship of these two 

Dr. Rufus C. Burlesox. 13 

colonists, and the evidence partially given, for the reason, -it 
is important from a family point of view, and of interest to 
the student of history. It is fairly well established from relia- 
ble records, that Sir Edward and Aaron were the first Burle- 
sons to come to America, and that from them, all the Burle- 
sons are descended. If they were brothers, or more remotely 
related, there is established a connection between all branches 
of this numerous and distinguished family. 

The Burlesons are not only great hosts in numbers, but 
they are widely diffused, and have been potent factors in the 
settlement and development of this mighty country. 

They are found now in the states of isTew York, Vermont, 
Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, California, 
Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Missis- 
sippi, Minnesota, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, and some of the 

Here they have lived since before the birth of the nation, 
during colonial days, and wherever found, they have filled 
with signal success positions in every sphere of life. 

In educational affairs, they have been presidents, and 
college professors; in religion, pastors of strong churches; in 
mercantile pursuits, proprietors of prosperous business con- 
cerns. In industrial enterprises, they have been leaders and 
originators, and the success of some of the greatest business 
ventures,in the country, such as the Armour Packing Com- 
pany and the Willimantic Thread Company, is due to their 
business acumen. 

Not only so, but the spirit of adventure has characterized 
certain members of the family, and we find them pushing out 
to the border, erecting log cabins, felling forests, opening- 
farms, raising food stuffs, teaching old field schools, organiz- 
ing and supplying weak churches, and discharging with match- 
less courage and heroism, all the arduous duties of the pioneer 
frontiersman and foundation builder. Patriotism, or a love 
of country has been a marked characteristic of the family, and 
a martial spirit always developed, when the country's exigen- 
cies required. 

A Burleson was a member of George Washington's staff, 
there were Colonels, Captains and privates bearing that name 

14 The Life and Writings of 

in the Revolutionary army, and the battlefields of Bunker 
Hill, Brandywine, and Saratoga, were stained with Burleson 

In the war of 1812 they come again in larger numbers, 
and greater force, to the defense of their country, displaying 
their usual gallantry and dash at Lundy's Lane, Sackett's Har- 
bour, Osewego, and Queentown Heights. They were again in 
the saddle in the war between the United States and Mexico 
in 1846, shot, fought and mingled their shouts of victory with 
Taylor's army at Buena Vista, Monterey, Palo Alto and 
Reseca de la Palma. 

When our own loved Texas was in the throes of a revo- 
lution with Mexico in 1836, the Burlesons were here, and re- 
sponded to the appeals of a young and poorly equipped colony, 
struggling for freedom against a much more powerful country. 

General Ed. Burleson who was a born commander and 
military genius, and who had seen some service under General 
Andrew Jackson in the Creek war of 1812, was made a Colonel 
in the hasty organization of the Texas army. He soon rose 
to the rank of a general, and was with Houston at San Jacinto, 
where he rendered most valuable aid in that triumph, which 
forever settled the question of separation of Texas from 
Mexico, and the establishment of Texas freedom. 

We have thus offered some reflections on the subject of 
genealogy in general, given briefly the origin of the Burleson 
family, hurriedly traced the history of the family from Eng- 
land to the ]STew World, and told in a word, of their lives in 
more than a score of states. 

In the following chapters we propose to tell the story of 
the life of Dr. R. C. Burleson, one of the most famous mem- 
bers of this famous family of Americans. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 15 


Settlement of North Alabama Desperate Resistance 
by Indian Tribes Expeditions of Ponce DeLeon, 
Vasquez, Pamphilo, DeSoto, LaSalle, Iberville 
Mississippi Scheme Western Company Tecumseh 
an Indian Warrior, Stirs the Tribes and Incites the 
War of 1813 Plan of His Warfare General 
Government Appealed to Heroic Settlers Vol- 
unteers Under General Andrew Jackson Captain 
Jonathan Burleson Commands a Company Close of 
the War Immigrants Pour into the Country. 

^J OWHERE in North America have the aborigines re- 
sisted European encroachment, and the permanent 
occupation of the country with more determination, 
than in that section originally defined as East and West Flor- 
ida, and at present, embraced within the geographical boun- 
daries of the states of Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee 
and Alabama. 

Powerful Indian chiefs commanded hordes of dauntless 
warriors, who being familiar with these primeval forests and 
all natural fortifications, defeated every effort made to settle 
the country, for over three hundred years. 

Ponce DeLeon discovered the coast of West Florida 
March 27th, 1512, landed, made some observations, and re- 
turned to Porto Rico. 

In the Autumn of that year he fitted up two ships, and 
returned with a force which he supposed, would be sufficient 

16 The Life and Writings of 

to subdue the savage inhabitants, and hold the country in un- 
disturbed possession. He affected a landing near St. Augus- 
tine, was immediately attacked with implacable fury by the 
Indians, many of his men killed, the remainder driven to their 
ships, and the commander, who had received a mortal wound, 
sailed away with the wreck of his expedition to Cuba, where he 
died soon after arriving. 

Vasquez de Ayllon organized a powerful expedition and 
landed on the same coast in 1525, with the express purpose of 
subjugating these savage tribes; was induced to visit the in- 
terior, became a victim to Indian diplomacy, and every mem- 
ber of his force butchered, and his object defeated. 

In 1528 Pamphilo de Navarez conducted the next im- 
portant expedition, with a view of subduing these warlike 
people. His fleet consisted of four ships, a strong military 
force of four hundred infantry, and eighty cavalry. He 
landed on the coast of East Florida, and took possession of the 
country in the name of his Imperial Master. He explored the 
country as far as jSTorth Alabama, conquered several weak 
tribes, which induced him to believe his glorious purpose 
would be easy of accomplishment. This effort failed most 
signally, as a result of Indian tact. Members of these capt- 
ured tribes represented to JSTavarez that they knew the country, 
and volunteered their services as guides. The expedition was 
conducted through dismal swamps, tangled jungles, over rapid 
flowing rivers, across rugged mountains, through waterless and 
trackless forests, and untrodden wildernesses. These soldiers, 
bent on conquest, suffered, and many of them died for want of 
food and water; many succumbed to disease, and scores were 
killed by Indian scouts, who constantly harrassed the com- 

Becoming discouraged Navarez, with the remnant of his 
force, made his way finally to the coast, but by mistake- of 
reckoning, failed to find his vessels, and the attempt to occupy 
the country, ended in a most miserable failure. 

In 153S Hernando de Soto, a man of wealth and fame, 
was fired with ambition to possess this country of fabulous 
reputed wealth, although fully apprised of the disaster of all 
former attempts in the same direction. He was one of the 
conquerors of Peru, and felt himself to be invincible. 

Dr. Rufus ( '. Bukleson. 17 

His military force consisted of nine hundred and fifty 
picked Spanish and Portuguese soldiers, a formidable fleet, 
and every necessary equipment. The expedition, full of en- 
thusiasm and confidence, landed on the Espiritor Sonto Bay. 

They plunged without hesitation, into the savage wilds 
of East Florida, and thence northward into the southwest sec- 
tion of Georgia, and the territory now known as Southern 
Alabama, then through the country of the Seminoles, a most 
ferocious and warlike tribe. They marched and wandered 
for the first year in East Florida and Georgia, east of Flint 
river, and were constantly harrassed bv the natives. 

The Indians that were unfortunately captured and forced 
to act as guides as in the case of the ill-fated Navarez expedi- 
tion, led them through gloomy forests, and impassable swamps, 
until they reached the Appalaehee country, where they spent 
the first winter. 

The next year they traversed the state of Georgia north- 
ward, and north to the Altarnaha river, thence they were led 
northwest to the barren country of the Cherokees; thence 
down the valley to the ( loosa river; thence southwest down the 
Alabama valley toward its junction with the Tombigbee, 
where a most terrible disaster from a desperate attack by an 
immense number of Indian warriors, befell them. Many 
were killed, and all baggage, stores and equipment burned. 

From the scene of this reverse, in mid-winter, they 
traveled northwestward, and spent the greater part of the 
second winter in North Mississippi. 

During the time the expedition remained here, they wero 
attacked bv a large bodv of Chickasaws; lost several men and 
much of what remained in the way of supplies. Many of 
their horses were also killed, and nearly all their clothing 

The hostile and determined savages harrassed them in- 
cessantly on all their marches and encampments, and every 
day's operations diminished the number of DeSoto's band. 

Discouraged from so many reverses and serious losses, 
they changed their course, and traveled north, toward the 
Mississippi river, which they crossed in rudely constructed 

18 The Life axd Writings of 

craft, and with the wreck of his once hopeful 'army went north- 
west, in the direction of the Ozark mountains, in Arkansas. 

Here they spent the third winter, then returned to the 
Mississippi river, where DeSoto died from disease superin- 
duced by excessive exposure and hunger. Thus deprived of an 
intrepid leader, the expedition abandoned all further thought 
of conquest, and directed their course west, toward the Span- 
ish settlement. Only fifty ever reached their point of desti- 
nation. Thus ended the third well-planned, and well-equipped 
expedition, to conquer and subdue the savage tribes of the 
New World. 

From this time on, for a period of one hundred and thirty- 
nine years, various efforts to establish colonies and settle this 
unbroken wilderness, Avere made with varying measures of 
success, but all these attempts were peaceable in character. 

In 16S1 the celebrated French navigator and explorer, 
LaSalle, descended the Mississippi river from Canada, touched 
at Xatchez, and on account of the warlike demonstrations of 
the hostile natives, hastened on toward the Gulf of Mexico, 
and sailed away. Returning in 1685, he attempted to estab- 
lish a colony at the mouth of the Mississippi river, missed his 
reckoning, sailed too far east, landed on the coast of Texas, 
discovered his mistake, and attempted to reach his objective 
point by traveling across the state. When he reached Wash- 
ington on the Brazos, the first and last capitol of the Republic 
of Texas, a dispute arose between himself and his men, and he 
was assassinated and buried on the banks of that historic 
stream a short distance east of that once flourishing commercial 
metropolis, and political center. 

The expedition conducted by Iberville in 1699, and after 
his death prosecuted by Bienville, to forcibly colonize the 
country, met the same unhappy fate that attended all previous 
efforts. Bienville established his headquarters on the Mobile 
river, constructed forts and stored supplies. 

Internal dissensions and schisms arising in this colony, 
coupled with the annoyance and depredations of the natives, 
caused it to languish, and finally fail in its purpose, although 
more laudable in its object and conservative in its methods 
and character, than any former attempt of a similar nature 

Dr. Rttfus C. Burleson. ID 

had been. In 1717 he surrendered all authority to his King, 
who conferred all his franchise to the "Western Company," 
known as the "Mississippi Scheme." 

This effort while not entirely successful made some prog- 
ress. The plan of the company was to introduce European 
colonists, devote themselves to agricultural pursuits, develop 
the productive industries of the country, and so conduct their 
affairs, as to create no friction between themselves and the 
Indian tribes; but leave them in undisturbed possession of the 
country, in the northern portion of the states of Mississippi, 
Alabama, and Georgia. 

With the pacific policy of the "Western Company," and 
other companies to whom grants had been made and franchises 
extended, the European settlers enjoyed greater security of 
life and property. But an occasional outburst of Indian tem- 
per, sometimes for a supposed, and sometimes for a real griev- 
ance, would result in a wholesale and indiscriminate massacre 
of the whites; which would provoke settlers and natives alike, 
to fly to arms, and bloody neighborhood and sectional wars 

Under the most favorable circumstances, and adhering 
to the most agreeable plans and methods of the Indians, it 
was never entirely safe, for a white man to establish himself 
in this portion of the United States, until after the Creek war 
of 1813. 

Many of the tribes had profited by the thrift and industry 
of the white settlers, had been impressed with their manners 
and customs, and might be said to be civilized in a measure, 
and to an extent; though they entertained feelings of the most 
inveterate and undying hatred toward them. 

Emigrants, attracted by the stories of the marvelous 
wealth and beauties of North Alabama and Georgia, came 
streaming into the country, until at one time, the "Federal 
road" from Mini's Ferry on the Alabama river, to the Chatta- 
hoochee, was completely filled with white settlers, in vehicles 
of every description, seeking favorable locations. 

This spectacle excited the suspicion in the minds of these 
semi-civilized natives, that they would soon be dispossessed of 

20 The Life and Writings of 

their country, and nmtterings and munrmrings of discontent 
were heard on all sides. 

Tecumseh, a powerful and successful Indian warrior, 
assumed the leadership in this hour of disaffection, canvassed 
all the tribes as far south as Florida, and moved them with his 
matchless and impassioned eloquence, to combine forces, and 
make common cause in staving-, and expelling the tide of em- 
migration that was pouring into the country. His speeches 
were telling, they regarded Tecumseh as the greatest warrior 
alive, and that the combined warriors of all the tribes under 
his leadership were capable of successfully coping with any 
people on earth. 

The excitement among all the tribes was soon wrought 
to the frenzied point, and Tecumseh had but to say, and they 
would dare to do. The plan of the war against the whites, 
was first to kill Captain Isaacs and Willaim Mcintosh; also Lit- 
tle Prince, Spoke Kange, and Tallase Tixeco, all prominent 
chiefs, who were suspected of being traitors to their people; 
and then commence the slaughter of the white settlers and emi- 

The Creeks, situated on the Coosa, Tallapoosa and Black 
Warrior rivers were to dispatch the white people on the Ten- 
. and Tombigbee river-. The Cherokee-, those on the 
Tennessee. The Georgians were to fall at the hands of the 
lower Creeks and Seminoles, while the people of Alabama and 
Mississippi, were to be murdered by the Choctaws. 

The plan of disposing of the supposed disloyal chief-, waa 
partially executed, and the work of exterminating the scattered 
whites commenced. 

Family after family, became the victims of the bloody 
tomahawk. Peaceable communities were assaulted, and 
forced to abandon their home-, and seek protection and shelter 
in friendly forests, and everywhere, the people were dis- 
mayed and excited. 

They entertained no thought, however, of tamely sub- 
mitting to the murderous intentions of these frenzied, savage 

Meetings were held in every place where it was safe to 
hold them; plans were discussed and formulated; measures of 

Dr. Rufus C. Bukleson. 21 

protection adopted; hasty, defensive military organizations 
formed; and active resistance to the furious savages com- 

The general government was appealed to, to send a mil- 
itary force to protect and prevent the wholesale massacre con- 
templated, and in many places in active progress. But Gen- 
eral Flournoy who had succeeded General "Wilkinson in com- 
mand, refused to send either volunteers, or regular United 
States troops to protect the people. His refusal was without 
justification or reason, since every movement of the Indians 
indicated the immediate destruction of the people of Ala- 
bama, who occupied the most isolated, and defenseless position 
on the entire fronier. 

At this critical juncture after the heroic settlers, with 
improvised means, had engaged in many successful battles, 
General Claiborne came to the rescue, with a command of 
regulars and volunteers; distributed his own and the forces 
organized in the various settlements, to the best advantage, 
and chastised these bloody savages on a dozen fields of battle. 
When the bloody purpose of the Creeks and their allies, 
to massacre all the whites in this section of country, no longer 
admitted of doubt, it became a national question, and General 
Andrew Jackson raised a force of several thousand men, hast- 
ened to the scene of hostilities, engaged these savages and 
blood-thirsty warriors, in battle at Talladega, and many other 
places and finally, completely broke their power, and thwarted 
their sanguinary plans, by defeating them at the battle of 
Horse Shoe, March 27th, 1814. 

Jonathan Burleson commanded a company in Jackson's 
army, and although only a farmer without military experi- 
ence or training, signalized himself in many engagements, and 
was one of Jackson's most valuable and trusted lieutenants. 
It was during this war as i boy of 14 years old that General 
Ed. Burleson who commanded the "First Regiment of Texas 
Volunteers at the battle of San Jacinto and distinguished him- 
self on a score of battlefields in Texas, during the struggles 
of the people to shake off the shackles of Mexican thraldom, 
displayed his first military prowess, and prevented Captain 
Jonathan Burleson from falling a victim to Indian treachery. 

22 The Life and Whitings of 

The story of this brave boyish exploit as related by Dr. R. C. 
Burleson is as follows : 

The Indians in the beginning of the Creek war, in 1812, 
had murdered three or four families on the north side of 
Tennessee river, near Decatur, Ala. Captain Jonathan Bur- 
leson was ordered to take his "minute men" to pursue and 
chastise them, and secure their plunder. The wily savages 
devised a scheme to entrap and murder their pursuers. They 
concealed their guns, bows and arrows in the grass behind the 
logs and went to cooking, playing ball, drinking, with all the 
apj)earance of friendly Indians. The "minute men" were to 
be received with great show of friendship, and invited to get 
down and drink with the promise they would join them and 
punish the Indian murderers. Knowing the failing of the 
white man they supposed they would eagerly dismount, lay 
aside their guns and rush around the whisky bottles, then at 
a given signal the leader with a butcher-knife concealed under 
his buckskin hunting shirt was to plunge it in the bosom of 
Captain Burleson, as a signal for the bloody onslaught. 
W 'hen the "minute men" rode up, the wily chief rushed out 
with a bottle of whisky, crying, "Bolly sheeley, bolly sheeley" 
"good friends, good friends" and invited the white com- 
pany to get down and drink. But to his amazement, the cau- 
tious brave captain ordered his men to draw up in line and 
stand in order. Little Ed. was only 14 years old, and too 
small to carry a gun but his father had furnished him a war 
pony and a splendid holster of pistols to carry on the horn of 
his saddle. 

The wily trick of the savage completely deceived and put 
all "minute men" off their guard. The captain had dis- 
mounted to accept the proffered friendship. But just as the 
stalwart Indian reached out his hand he dropped the bottle, 
jerked out his butcher-knife, and with the ferocity of a leop- 
ard leaped forward to plunge it in the heart of the captain. 
But the ever vigilant captain sprang to one side and the Indian 
was thrown between him and his men. The Indian turned on 
him so suddenly that he could not get the muzzle of his gun 
against the Indian. All the men stood dumb with fear and 
amazement, but little Ed., ever viligant and brave, instantly 

Dr. Rufus C. Bukleson. 


spured his pony and rushed up, clapped his pistol to the back 
of the Indian and shot him dead, just as he was ready to 
plunge his knife into the bosom of his Cousin Jonathan. The 
cry was given, "charge boys, charge," and in ten minutes a 
score of Indians lay weltering in their own blood, and the 
booty belonging to the murdered families was recovered. 

Captain Burleson lived with his father, Major John Bur- 
leson, near Lexington, Kentucky, when he volunteered to 
assist in roiling back this wave of Creek butchery and saw 
much of this fine country, which as will be seen in the follow- 
ing chapter, he turned to his personal good. 

2 I The Life and Writings of 


Flint Biyee, North Alabama Home of Jonathan Burle- 
son Settles Here in 1814 Erects a Cabin Opens 
a Farm Raises a Large Family Amasses a Foktuxj: 

Rufus C. Burleson Born August 7, 1823 In- 
structed by His Mother Learns Rapidly Inci- 
dents and Anecdotes of His Boyhood Discovers a 
Cave Plays Detective. 

[^ HE east fork of Flint river rises in the southeastern 
part of Morgan county, North Alabama. The west 
fork has its source in the southeastern portion of 
Lawrence county. These beautiful and rapid flowing streams 
form a confluence a few miles below Decatur, which flow- 
east, deflects to the northeast and pours its purling waters into 
the Tennessee. 

From its source to its mouth it forms a loop or stirrup 
in its course, and is celebrated for its loveliness and beauty. 
On the east side of this river, and at the bottom of this loop, 
so to speak, a most beautiful and fertile valley spreads along 
the shore, and eastward until it pushes itself against a hill 
with perpendicular bluffs, several hundred feet high, a spur 
of the Allegheny mountains. 

This valley is covered with stately oaks, rugged hickories, 
and chestnut trees on whose sides vines cling and climb, un- 
folding their bright beautiful blooms high in the air. Phlox, 
columbine, digitalis and marigold cover the ground, making- 
the landscape radiant with beauty, and the air redolent with 
delightful fragrance. 

Dr. Rttfus C. Burlesox. 25 

In season, walnuts, hickory nuts, chestnuts and hazlenuts 
can be gathered in any quantity; and grapes, muscadines, 
dewberries, whortleberries and blackberries grow in great 
perfection and abundance. 

The yellow jassamine and crab apple are faultless in their 
beauty, and were great favorites among these border settlers. 
Great fern cling to the soil in the rocky clefts, and swing with 
matchless grace from hillside and river bank. The great 
variety of wild flowers of various coloring and tints, the great 
variety of shrubs and forest growth, clothed in foliage of 
various verdant shades, springs gushing from mountain sides, 
with the waters of Flint river laughing and singing as they 
pass, all add charm and attractiveness to this place of unriv- 
aled beauty. 

On the 17th of September, 1813, Jonathan Burleson and 
Elizabeth Byrd, the latter a sister of Governor William Adair 
of Kentucky, and grand daughter of Sir William Byrd, 
founder of Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia, and for years 
president of the royal council, were happily married near 
Lexington, Kentucky. 

After the close of the Creek war in 1811, together they 
journeyed on horseback, through an unbroken wilderness to 
this favored place, and commenced the work of building a 
home. A rude cabin was hastily built out of material cut on 
the ground, and this young and tenderly raised bride had her 
first experience in housekeeping, while her husband engaged 
in felling the forest monarchs, preparatory to opening a farm. 
All the household effects of this couple were brought with 
them on horseback, and a broken oven was utilized as two 
cooking utensils, one for the meat, the other for the hoe-cake. 

They planted two weeping willows in the back yard, and 
pledged each other that under these they would live and labor 
while their hearts were young, and in their shade would be 
buried when their lives on earth were ended. This young 
and devoted couple little thought they were making history in 
their frontier home, the facts of which would be woven into 
a pleasant story, and read through all the untold ages to come. 

All pioneers, it is said have built wiser than they knew, 
this was never truer of any young couple than of Jonathan 
Burleson and his blushing Kentucky bride, Elizabeth Byrd. 


The Life and Writings of 

Here, where nature had been so lavish in the bestowment 
of its wealth, on the 7th day of August, 1823, Rufus C. Burle- 
son, the sixth child, and subject of this memoir was born. 
These proud young parents knew that by the genius of our 
civil and social institutions that distinction was won, and not 
inherited, and that there was nothing in the circumstance of 
birth to prevent young Rufus, or anv American youth from 
ascending to the topmost round of the ladder of fame. 
Though they perhaps little dreamed that to them on that 
August day, in those trackless wilds, a son had been born, 


whose fame as a foundation builder, and educator would some 
day fill the world. 

The Burlesons at this time were busy people; Capt. Bur- 
leson in superintending, enlarging and improving his planta- 
tion, and Mrs. Burleson in managing her enlarged household 
and domestic affairs. The population in this section of 
country after the settlement of the Indian troubles, had in- 
creased very rapidly. Neighbors were more accessible, social 
privileges enjoyed, schools were opened, and churches organ- 
ized. To all these interests Captain Burleson and his wife 
devoted much time, notwithstanding which fact, they found 
leisure to bestow every necessary attention to training their 

Dk. Rufus C. Burlesox. 27 

large family of six children. As time could be cnatched from 
their active duties during the day, and often at night by a 
flickering pine knot fire, they were carefully instructed in 
the rudiments, and a most substantial foundation thus laid for 
a finished education. Which, be it said to the credit of these 
brave Alabama pioneers, all of their large family of thirteen 
children received in after life. 

The spirit of usefulness seems to have been inherent in 
young Rufus, a characteristic that followed him through life. 
"Better wear out, than rust out," being one of his mottoes. 
As a mere toddler he assisted his mother in her domestic 
affairs in every way possible, and when older and 
larger, he manifested the same interest in his father's man- 
agement of the plantation. He made it a point to see that 
the pigs were never neglected, that the calves received proper 
attention, and the colts were carefully handled. He gathered 
the pears and other fruit for his mother, carried the spun yarn 
to the weaver, and "home spun" being the only reliance for 
clothing on this frontier in these early times, would return 
with cloth in a jubilant spirit, knowing it would be cause for 
joy to every member of the family. 

One of Dr. Burleson's most marked characteristics as a 
man, was his continuity of purpose, and loyalty to a plan. 
He never dismissed a subject from his mind until his object 
was accomplished. This was an innate element of character, 
as a little story of his child life forcibly illustrates. Just 
before retiring one night, when he was only six years old, his 
mother called him to her and said, "Rufus, some friends are 
to spend the day with us to-morrow, and I want you to get up 
early and clean off the front yard nicely." 

Being not only an obedient boy, but also anxious to com- 
ply with his mother's wishes, he promised to do so and retired. 
He was soon sleeping sweetly, and during the night, at what 
hour he did not himself know, nor did any member of the 
family, he got up, swept the yard and returned to his bed. 
His mother was awakened by some noise made when he came 
in, and called, but being asleep he did not answer; she was 
much surprised next morning to find the yard in "apple pie 
order," and knew it was the work of young Rufus done during 

28 The Life and Writings of 

the nighl while sound asleep. No member of the family was- 
more amazed when informed of his nocturnal performance 
than young Rufus, and only remarked that he retired and fell 
asleep with his mother's request, to put the yard in order, on 
his mind. 

Few men in public life have been endowed with more 
marked and decided characteristic than Dr. Burleson. Among 
other innate traits, it may be stated, that he was.a born detec- 
tive, which quality stood him in splendid stead in controlling 
the vast educational interests committed to his management 
in after life in Mississippi, and Texas. One incident in his 
childhood furnishes an illustration of this natural talent. 

His mother for some time had suspected the old colored 
cook of "holding out" choice morsels of dainty dishes for her- 
self and children, and mentioned her suspicions in little Rufus* 
presence. He felt a personal interest in the matter, for the 
reason that the peach pie, one of the dishes in which the "short- 
age" was noticed, was his favorite dessert, which it may be- 
parenthetically mentioned, continued to be his favorite until 
the day of his death. 

Without saying anything of his intention, he resolved 
to discover the culprit that gave his mother cause for com- 
plaint, and devised the following plan : 

Just before the noon hour, when he knew the cook would 
be preparing to send dinner into the dining hall, Rufus pro- 
vided himself with an auger, and with the assistance of a lad- 
der, climbed to the top of the residence, made his way noise- 
lessly to the roof of the L just over the kitchen, bored a hole- 
through the shingles, and with one eye watched the cook as 
she manipulated the various dishes. 

His method of detection was a splendid success. He- 
soon saw the old servant placing a good portion of every nice 
dish she had prepared for the meal in a tin bucket, which when 
filled, she placed in an obscure corner. 

He descended quietly from the house top, reported the 
facts to his mother, who complimented her 6-year-old son's 
tact, prevented the shortage thereafter, and for months re- 
warded young Rufus with a double portion of peach pie for his 

Dr. Rufus ( '. Burleson. 29 

Rufus, while always willing to perform his part of house- 
hold chores and assist his mother in every possible way, was 
not in the least effeminate in disposition or character; on the 
contrary he was a very manly boy, fond of the forest and out- 
door life. 

Assisting his father on the plantation was much more 
in harmony with his taste, than rendering household service. 
All through life he insisted that no man ever became too wise 
nor filled a station so exalted as to enjoy immunity from honor- 
able work. 

With him "know something of everything, and every- 
thing of something," was a favorite, practical, philosophical 


His fondness for outdoor life however, did not incline 
liim to hum and fish, as is the case with a majority of boys, 
especially on the border where fish and game are abundant. 
He explored the woods, not only in the immediate vicinity of 
his father's plantation, but for miles around in every direc- 

He knew where the best nuts and berries could be found 
in largest quantity, the precise location of every muscadine 
and grape vine, could inform the family where the choicest 
wild fruit grew, and would escort his sisters where wild flowers 
bloomed in greatest profusion and attained greate-t perfection. 


The Life and Writings of 

His mind turned somewhat toward exploration, and mak- 
ing investigations of natural objects remarkably accurate for 
one of his years. He knew Flint river and contiguous territory 
on both sides east and west for miles; could name the exact 
spot where the blue water was deepest, the current swiftest; 
where the stateliest oaks were standing, the cliffs and jutting 
peaks most rugged, and the scenery most sublime. 

Every cavern was carefully explored, and every natural 
phenomenon investigated. All these things he reported to the 
family, and the story of his rambles and discoveries among 
the hills, and in the forest during the day, were sources of 
much interest and entertainment around the fireside, when the 
shades of night came on, and the beauty and brightness of 
the world were for a time shut out. 

It was young Rufus who discovered near his father's 
homestead one of the most remarkable caves in North Ala- 
bama, and which, but for the fact that it has been overlooked 
by Geologists, would have become one of the most famous on 
the continent. 

Captain Burleson continued to occupy the little cabin 
in the valley for seven or eight years after settling on Flint 
river, making additions and enlargements as the necessities of 
his increasing family required. In 1827 he erected an im- 
posing and commodious two-story dwelling on the bluff east 
of his plantation, which commanded an unobstructed view, of 
an unbroken sweep of country for miles. 

On one of his daily rambles among the rugged hills 
surrounding the home, the discovery was made, the cavern 
explored and partially investigated. It w T as on the side of a 
mountain, not very extensive in dimensions, but on a more 
thorough examination was found to possess some very re- 
markable peculiarities. 

It was plainly the result of an upheaval, which fractured 
and dislocated the oolitic strata, the walls of which had been 
dressed perfectly smooth by an air current, which came in a 
strong cool draft from unknown subterranean depths. The 
most remarkable feature of little Rufus' discovery was, this 
air current was so cold, that a uniform temperature of 30 de- 

De. Rufus C. Burleson. 


grees was maintained during the entire heated period, and the 
properties of the cave conformed in all respects, to a modern 

Captain Burleson utilized it, as a cold storage room, 
where meat, fruits, vegetables, milk and butter were kept 
fresh and sweet during the entire summer. 

Notwithstanding his enthusiastic love for laughing 
brooks, radiant flowers, giant oaks, tangled jungles, spreading 
valleys, rugged hills, towering mountains, and all animate as 
well as inanimate nature, he did not permit his rambles and 
communion with these objects to interfere with his studies. 


He gladly accepted his mother's offers of instruction, and 
applied himself with diligence. At this early age he was an 
apt pupil and developed many of the qualities of a student. 

He made most marked progress, his taste leading dis- 
tinctly in the direction of the languages, literature and phil- 

As is always the case with home instruction, young Rufus 
had ample time to read when the daily work with his text- 
books was over, and, for a child, he may be said to have been 
an omniverous reader. He commenced by reading "Peter 
Parley" and other standard history and biography, and very 

32 'J' he Life am> Writings of 

soon the family noticed him poring over some of the classics 
with intense interest and absorbing attention. 

Xot only was his literary education carefully watched 
at home, but his "grand father" and "angel mother" (terms 
Dr. Burleson always used when referring to his parents) 
impressed on his mind the importance of habits of industry, 
as applied to the higher, as well as the lower spheres of 
life. They also used every occasion and current event 
to instill lofty moral principles into his young heart, and were 
so successful in this, the very highest source of all instruc- 
tion, that every fiber in his body was so saturated with high 
ideals in life that on the seventy-second anniversary 
of his birth he could say, "I praise the Father of all Mercies 
for a wi^e, loving and industrious Mother and Father, who by 
precept and example taught me the precious value of health 
and time, and fired my young heart with ardent love for 
truth, love for God and devotion to my native land. I 
praise him that under their tender and wise teaching and ex- 
ample I shunned the destructive vices of boyhood. I have 
never taken but one chew of tobacco; I never swore but one 
oath; I never took a drink of whiskey; never danced a step; 
never played a game of cards; never was on a race track, nor 
visited a theater, and in purity my life has been spotless." 

The world's annals of family government would be 
vainly, fruitlessly searched for a grander encomium upon the 
results of parental training and instruction. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 33 


Early Educational Advantages of North Alabama 
Rufus Enters a District School Rapid Advance- 
ment Attends Summerville Academy School at 
Danville Death of His Mother Conversion and 
Baptism Ambition to be a Lawyer Impressions to 
Preach Enters Nashville University Licensed to 
Preach Health Fails Returns to His Father's 

/V S is the case with all frontier countries, the educational 
gaag affairs in North Alabama were in their embryonic 

J condition at this early period in the State's history. 
District schools were opened at various times in the Burleson 
neighborhood on Flint River, one of which young Rufus en- 
tered at the age of seven years. He continued to attend these 
"old field schools" at intervals, and as they happened to be 
taught, for seven years. Notwithstanding many interrup- 
tions, he applied himself, and advanced rapidly in these primi- 
tive courses. 

Only the rudiments were taught in these district schools, 
not because these bright frontier boys and girls were wanting 
in either application or the capacity to learn, but for the reason 
that it was all these adventurous pedagogues could teach. 

In 1837 he entered Summerville Academy,' a school 
founded some years before. At this time is was conducted by 
Prof. A. B. Wattson, a man of scholarly attainments. 

The great majority of men possess sufficient receptive 
talent to take on a fair education, but possess no power of 

34 The Life and Writings of 

impartation. Teachers, like poets, are born, not made. Prof. 
Wattson was not only a scholar, but possessed also the other 
indispensable requisite of the successful teacher the power of 
imparting instruction. As an evidence that this estimate of 
Prof. Wattson's ability as a teacher is not overdrawn, it may 
be stated that he was called from Summerville Academy to a 
professorship in Nashville University, a school of such high 
standing and so favorably known throughout the country that 
only scholarship and general fitness were considered when a 
chair in the university was to be filled. 

Young Burleson was now fourteen years old; he was fully 
conscious of the importance of an education, and had long 
since determined to make any reasonable sacrifice and to per- 
form any service in his power to obtain it. He needed no 
incentive or stimulus; the opportunity was all he craved or 
desired. In Summerville Academy, under Prof. Wattson's 
instruction, this opportunity was enjoyed. 

The curriculum was far in advance of anything he had 
undertaken up to that time, but he stood at the head of all his 
classes, and advanced rapidly. For his aptitude he was highly 
complimented, and for his industry and diligence most warmly 

He remained in Summerville Academy nearly two years, 
and after a short interval of rest, spent with his father, in 1839, 
he entered a select school near Danville, taught by Dr. Sims. 
Owing to the death of his mother, July 12th, 1839, his attend- 
ance at this school was brief. Immediately after receiving 
this sad news, he returned to his home, a weeping, heart-broken 
boy. He employed his time in study and work on the farm 
until September, when he entered a school at Decatur, six 
miles from his father's plantation, conducted by Prof. J. S. 

His studies were pursued in this school in a half-hearted, 
listless way, owing to his severe domestic affliction, and he 
made frequent visits from Decatur to his home, that he might 
place fresh flowers on the tomb of his sainted mother, and 
review the scenes where so many happy hours had been spent 
in her delightful companionship. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 


He had always been a boy of a high sense of moral pro- 
priety, and most exemplary life, but had never made a profes- 
sion of religion. It was during one of these visits to his family 
that he attended a revival meeting, conducted in the neighbor- 
hood by Reverends "W. H. Holcombe and Leonard H. Milli- 
ken, that he became deeply impressed. The sermon under 
which he received the impression that "led him from nature's 
darkness to the marvelous light and liberty of the gospel" was 
preached by Rev. Dr. Porter, a minister of the Cumberland 
Presbyterian Church. 

He was converted on the 21st of April, 1839, in his six- 
teenth year, a few days after which he was baptized in Flint 


River, the ordinance being administered by Rev. W. H. Hol- 
combe. Dr. Burleson was a man of decided convictions. Ho 
often expressed an off-hand opinion, and in heated controver- 
sies used unguarded expressions, of which he repented. But 
in forming his plans he deliberated carefully, and often spent 
days in fasting and prayer before reaching conclusions. After 
his plans were thus formed, no man ever adhered to a purpose 
with more dogged determination. For his convictions and 
principles he was ready to fight, and upon every battlefield 
proved to be a foeman worthy of his steel. 

3G The Life axd Writings of 

His conversion was an epoch in his life, a turning point 
upon which the destiny of important interests hung. It was 
the occasion of the first great battle he ever fought, and that 
battle was between himself and his plans in life. 

Up to this time his ambition had been to become a great 
lawyer and statesman, and all his training at home and in the 
school room had been with this end in view. He had read 
with rapt attention of the overpowering eloquence of Patrick 
Henry, who gave the first impulse to the xlmerican revolution 
of 1776, and how this great orator unhorsed every opponent 
in his celebrated. speech, in defense of some Baptist preachers, 
oharged in the courts of Virginia with the offense of preach- 
ing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, contrary to the law. He had 
read also of the masterly eloquence of John C. Calhoun and 
Daniel Webster in parliamentary debate and forensic efforts 
in the courts of the country. He had also read of how the 
peerless Sergeant S. Prentiss had swayed the multitudes, in 
the political arena, until every fiber, cartilage and filament in 
his young body burned with ambition to stand in the front 
rank of American lawyers, statesmen and orators. 

But with his conversion come also the impression to 
preach. The struggle between this impression and his settled 
purpose was on in earnest. The conflict was short, but sharp ; 
he yielded to the call, and consecrated his talent to the work 
of redeeming lost souls. His ardor and burning zeal was 
undiminished, but his whole purpose in life being changed, 
all his plans must be remodeled and his course of instruction 
Te vised. 

In 1840 he matriculated in Nashville University, and 
began to prepare himself for entrance into a theological semi- 
nary. While in Xashville, on the 12th of November, 1840, 
he was licensed to preach the Gospel by the Baptist Church 
of which that celebrated theologian and scholar, Dr. R. B. C. 
Howell, was pastor, who at the time predicted a career of use- 
fulness and brilliant future for the young licentiate. 

He was now a thoroughly changed young man. Life 
was no less rosy, but presented a far more beautiful hue. The 
prospect and picture that now filled and thrilled the innermost 

De. Rufus C. Buelesox. 37 

recesses of his soul was not the sober faces of Supreme Court 
Judges, as he discussed some profound principle of law, or the 
excited multitude as he debated some irritating political ques- 
tion from the hustings; but, instead, the serious face of hig 
Redeemer, as He swung on the cross, blood percolating from 
His Divine Body, trickling down His side, and an unredeemed 
world whirling into the vortex of eternal ruin around him. 

Instead of the wild cheering of the tumultuous rabble, 
and the plaudits of men, after scoring a telling political 
triumph, he heard the words of David, "It is God that girdeth 
me with strength, and maketh my way perfect." 

He remained in Nashville University until the summer 
of 1841, when his health gave way, as a result of close applica- 
tion .and confinement. This was a matter of sincere regret to 
the faculty of the university, as it not only delayed, but inter- 
fered with his preparation for the contemplated theological 

Dr. Burleson was not of robust physical development aa 
a man, but as a boy he was fleshy and of fine physique. As a 
result of bad health, he was now an emaciated, cadaverous, 
strippling youth of seventeen. Physicians had no hope of his 
recovery, but advised that he be taken out of Nashville, as a 
means of prolonging his life. This was a great trial to this 
young and ambitious boy, but he deferred to the advice of his 
physicians, went to his father's farm, and in a short time, con- 
trary to all expectations and predictions, commenced to 

His thirst for knowledge never abated during his con- 
finement, although denied all access to his books. During the 
period of convalescence he employed his time in studying 
Greek, Hebrew, and Bible history, and when his recovery was 
thought to be complete, he decided to re-enter Nashville Uni- 
verstiy. This both his father and family physician opposed, 
as they felt, convinced that to return to school meant certain 

His father reminded him of the resolution he made when 
he entered Nashville University, that he would become the 
first scholar in it, or come out in his coffin, and his narrow 

3S The Life and Writings of 

escape from death. His greai life purpose burned like fire in 
his bones, and he resisted every argument and met every objec- 
tion. His father insisted that he was. fairly well educated 
already, and if he would abandon all thought of sacrificing 
his life by returning to college, he would deed him a good 
farm, give him hands to cultivate it, and he could settle down 
to the life of a "farmer preacher," protect his healthy and do 
much good at the same time. This offer was also promptly 

On one occasion Rufus went with his father to hear a 
presiding elder preach on baptism, in reply to an uneducated 
Baptist preacher, who had been guilty of baptizing some half- 
dozen of his most prominent members, amid the usual jeers, 
ridicule and sneers heaped upon the Baptists of that day for 
their ignorance and bigotry. The impassioned preacher held 
up a Greek Testament and said : "Here is a wonderful book. 
It is wonderful for two reasons. First, it is written in the 
Greek, a language that God selected from among the babbling 
tongues of earth in which to give to man his last will and tes- 
tament. But more wonderful, in the second place, from the 
fact that those who do not know a letter in it can understand 
it far better than those who have spent their lives in studying 
it. I will give this Greek Testament to any Baptist preacher 
in North Alabama, or the Tennessee Valley, who can read one 
line in it, or that knows the Greek letter beta from a partridge 
track, and yet these Baptist Solomons know all about Baptizo, 
Rantizo, Echeo, and I, who have studied it so long, do not 
know one thing." Rufus reminded his father that when the 
congregation laughed, under these withering criticisms of the 
denomination to which he belonged, he hung his head in 
shame, not that the insinuations were either true or just, but 
that there was even an excuse for making them. "My soul," 
Rufus said, "burned as young David's did when Goliath 
derided Israel, and Israel's God, and I want to so prepare 
myself as a preacher as to make it impossible to cast such reflec- 
tions on God's Church and Baptist people." 

Capt. Burleson was most profoundly impressed with his 
son's argument, pleased with his laudable purpose and lofty 

Dr. Rufus C. Buk'lesox. 


ambition, but was not convinced that he could stand the 
close application and confinement of college life. He still 
withheld his consent for his son to return to Nashville. 

Rufus remained on the farm, doing some work, taking 
much outdoor exercise, and pursuing his studies, until 1842, 
when his health was fully restored, and his strength regained. 


40 The Life and Writings of 


Young Rufus Anxious to Return to the University at 
Nashville His Father Objects, Fearing his Health 
Would Again Fail Compromise Teaches in Mis- 
sissippi Five Years First Contract Called to the 
Pastorate Ordination by the Catalpa Baptist 
Church, June 8th, 1845 Dr. Wm. Carey Crane 
Clerk of the Council. 

R. BURLESON was as eager as ever to return to col- 
lege, but, fearing his health would again be jeop- 
ardized by the sedentary life of a student, his father 
not only advised against such a course, but was obdurate in his 
objection. The son's zeal for a finished education was una* 
bated, but he knew from his experience in college training that 
much profit was derived from reviewing courses of instruction. 
He appealed to his father to allow him to teach until, in his 
judgment, it would be safe to resume his studies in the univer- 

It was not in his mind to dissemble, nor to practice any 
deception on his father, and told him very frankly that while 
engaged in teaching he would carefully observe all rules in 
any way conducive to his health, but would keep up his studies 
while teaching, and thus accomplish a triple purpose. 

First. He would be able to take up his studies in the 
university without any hiatus in the course. 

Second. Build up his constitution, so that he would be 
strong enough to stand the confinement of college life. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 41 


Third. Would earn money enough to be self -sustaining 
when he returned to the university in Nashville. 

Capt. Burleson was impressed with the wisdom of his 
ambitious son's plan, and consented for him to teach. 

This, however, effected only a partial settlement of the 
trouble. Young Burleson was not prepared to seek or accept 
a professorship in any of the higher and well established 
schools of the country; besides, a position in the faculty of any 
of the existing institutions, situated as they were in the cen- 
ters of population, would be subject, to some extent, to the 
same objection that had been urged to his re-entering college. 

The population of North Alabama and adjoining States 
was scattered, so that however anxious the people might be 
for neighborhood schools, pupils enough could not be found in 
any one community to justify a teacher in giving the school 
any considerable portion of his time. 

Young Burleson was not discouraged by these conditions, 
but, on the contrary, rather stimulated to pursue and press his 

After consulting and corresponding with friends in sev- 
eral States, a small school was secured in Itawamba County, 
Mississippi. Although only nineteen years old, without expe- 
rience as a teacher, and much embarrassed by being thus 
thrown among strangers, he managed the school like a veteran 
disciplinarian and pedagogue, and gave entire satisfaction to 
the patrons. 

Here he remained only one year, and in 1842 removed 
to Fulton, the county seat, where he opened another school. 

The attendance in Fulton was much larger than in the 
country where he had taught in 1841, and his patrons were 
among the most prominent families in the place. The school 
flourished far beyond Mr. Burleson's expectations, or that of 
the friends and patrons, so much so that the building in which 
it was opened was totally inadequate to accommodate the 
attendance. In the latter part of the year a larger and more 
suitable academy building was erected. 

He had now taught two years in this section of the State, 
one year in the Clifton community and one in Fulton. The 

42 The Life and Writings of 

schools in both places had been managed with such marked 
ability, and with so much satisfaction to patron and pupil, 
that both as a teacher and young unordained preacher he had 
made quite a reputation. 

Unsolicited offers of schools came streaming on him, until 
it became a question, not where can I secure a place to teach, 
but what offer shall I accept. 

Dr. A. B. Russell, of Starkville, a Presbyterian preacher, 
a warm personal friend of Capt. Jonathan Burleson's family, 
who had heard of his friend's success as a teacher in the piney 
woods of Itawamba County, and more lately at Fulton, 
insisted on him coming to Starkville, and taking the school in 
Mayhew prairie, some miles in the country. 

Acting on Dr. Russell's advice, he moved to that place in 
1843. This change proved to be in many respects, in fact, 
altogether, most fortunate. The Mayhew prairie community 
was composed of wealthy and influential citizens, and the 
school which Mr. Burleson contracted to teach was to prepare 
the sons and daughters of these wealthy people for entrance 
into some of the higher institutions of learning in the State. 
The position was one of some delicacy and much responsibil- 
ity, which the following contract shows he assumed with much 
deliberation and business care : 

Articles of Agreement. 

I, R. C. Burleson, propose to teach a school in Mayhew 
Prairie, Mississippi, for a term of five months, commencing 
on the first Monday in November, to be taught in the Baptist 
meeting house, near B. Moore's residence, and to teach the fol- 
lowing branches at the following prices : 

Reading, spelling and writing, $1.00 per scholar, per 
month. Arithmetic, English Grammar and Geography, 
$1.25 per scholar, per month. Botany, moral, mental and 
natural philosophy, $2.00 per scholar, per month. Latin, 
beginners in Greek and political economy, $3.00 per scholar, 
per month. All of which, I bind myself to teach to the best 
of my ability, to suppress vice and encourage virtue, and to 
preserve good order in school. 

Dr. Bufus C. Buklesox. 43 

We, the undersigned subscribers, on our part agree to 
employ said Burleson to teach said school for us, on the above 
specified terms and conditions. We also agree, that said Bur- 
leson shall be allowed to make up all lost time, or to deduct 
the same from his wages. We also agree to furnish a com- 
fortable house with seats, and that every scholar in school 
shall be under the rules of said Burleson. We also agree to 
pay said Burleson the amounts which we have subscribed, on, 
or before the first day of April next. October 5th, 1S42. 

John Clifton, Wm. Medles, B. G. Moore, Thos. Middle- 
ion, James Gressom, John Carnes, Henry Clifton, Allen Bide, 
Edward Maxey, J. 1ST. Edwards, James MclNliece, Jamea 

The school opened at the time stated in the contract, with 
twenty-five pupils; and while Mr. Burleson had just attained 
his majority, and owing to the high standing of the patrons, 
consented to teach it with much trepidation, he met every re- 
quirement, and easily exceeded the expectations of the people. 

Many of the pupils who entered this school were well 
advanced in all branches, but more especially the languages, 
and Mr. Burleson, to keep in advance of the classes, was forced 
to apply himself closely, but he referred to the school in enthu- 
siastic terms of praise in after years, and his arduous labors as 
"delightful toil." 

It was while filling this position that new and weighty 
responsibilities were thrust upon him. He had been licensed 
to preach, as stated, by the Church in Nashville, December 
12th, 1840, but had never submitted to ordination. He had 
supplied pastorless churches in that vicinity, with much accept- 
ance, and had conducted several successful revivals in addi- 
tion to his work in the school room. One of the churches 
which he supplied, situated in Mayhew prairie, only a few 
miles from where he was teaching, increased in two years, 
under his ministry, from seven members to eighty -four, and 
ivas said to be one of the best country churches in Mississippi. 
Notwithstanding his extensive and successful work as a young 
minister, he had never been installed as the pastor of any 
church, nor administered the ordinances. 

44 The Life and WBirmos of 

Rev. M. Bennett, pastor of Pilgrim Best and Mount 
Lebanon Churches, one situated twelve and the other fourteen 
miles from Mayhew, had rendered his resignation. 

Without any solicitation on his part, or his friends, so 
far as is known, Mr. Burleson was unanimously called to both 
these pastorates. So anxious were they for him to accept the 
call, large committees, composed of the most prominent, pious, 
and influential members, were appointed to visit him at May- 
hew, formally notify him of the action of these churches, and 
urge his acceptance. 

Hon. Tsham Harrison was chairman of the two commit- 
tees, and these committees visited Mayhew, and, upon t\m 
invitation of Mr. Burleson, repaired with him to the residence 
of Dr. Wells A. Thompson, where, after a season of prayer, 
they discussed the matter most solemnly until 12 o'clock. 

Mr. Burleson informed them that he had consecrated hi? 
life to one grand mission, and wanted to return to college just 
as soon as circumstances would permit, to lay a broad and deep 
foundation for that life work. He told the committee that he 
would gladly supply their pulpits, as he had others, until such 
time as they might choose a pastor. 

The committee insisted that he should accept the call r 
submit to ordination, and enter at once upon the official dis- 
charge of his duties as pastor; that God was plainly directing 
and leading in the matter, and as a minister of the gospel he 
could not refuse. 

Moved by the tears and entreaties of this earnest band of 
pions brethren, and the arguments presented which he could 
not answer, he told them he would keep the matter under 
advisement a few davs, and give them a final answer at the 
next conference meeting; of their churches. 

\Yhile having the call under consideration, Bev. W. II. 
Holcombe, who had baptized Mr. Bnrleson in 1S37. and whev 
was now pastor of the church at Aberdeen, Mississippi, came to 
Mayhew prairie, and spent the night with him at his boarding 
house. This trusted friend and valuable counselor on many 
former occasions, advised him to accept this work, which, in 
addition to the good he might accomplish, would enable him 
to accumulate experience that would be valuable in after life. 

De. Rufus C. Burleson. 45 

To all these importunities he finally yielded, accepted 
the calls to Mount Lebanon, Pilgrim Rest and Mayhew 
Prairie, which last-named Church had also called him. 

I lis acceptance was based on the condition that he was to 
be released as soon as he was ready to re-enter the university 
at Nashville. 

A council for his ordination was called, and after the 
usual sermon, examination, etc., the following certificate waa 
issued, which is here reproduced verbatim, for the reason the 
facts cannot be more succinctly stated : 

To all whom it may concern: 

This is to certify that the subscribers, being a council, 
convened by request of the Catalpa Baptist Church, in the 
County of Octibbeha, and State of Mississippi, for the pur- 
pose of setting apart the bearer iiereof, Rufus C. Burleson, to 
the sacred office of the gospel ministry, and being satisfied with 
his piety, views of religious truth, and call to the work, did on 
the 8th day of June, 1845, in the presence of the Baptist 
Church and congregation in the town of Starkville, in the 
aforesaid State, solemnly ordain to the full work of the minis- 
try, by imposition of hands, prayer and other suitable exercise, 
our brother, Rufus C. Burleson, and as such recommend him 
to favor and acceptance with the household of faith every- 

SAMUEL McGOWEN, Moderator. 




It is a most singular coincidence that Dr. Burleson and 
Dr. Win. Carey Crane, the clerk of the council, should have 
drifted "West in the course of years, and become Presidents of 
rival universities in the same State. 

40 Tub Life and Writings of 


Mr. Burleson Teaches in Mississippi from 1841 to 1845 
Pursues His Studies Called to the Pastorate Dr. 
Alexander Campbell Wave of Religious Disaffec- 
tion Mr. Burleson Enters the Field of Polemics 
Doctrinal Sermons Articles in the Tennessee Bap- 
tist Meets W. IT. Muse, a Classmate A Warm 
Discussion Formula for Killing Baptists Resigns 
as Teacher and Pastor Parting Between Preacher,. 
Parishioner, Parent and Pupil. 

* I * HE four years spent by Mr. Burleson in Mississippi 
T^r^rs from 1841 to 1845 were cvrowded with business and 
sa - 5B I were exceedingly rich in experience. In addition to 
his duties as teacher, preacher, pastor and student, giving all 
necessary attention to the social demands made on his time, 
he kept up and completed an extensive course of systematic 
reading; thus storing away a vast fund of information which 
served him admirably through life. 

It was while in Mayhew amidst other multitudinous 
duties he entered the field of polemics, and signalized himself 
as a debater. He was not naturally of a disputatious disposi- 
tion, and avoided all controversies as far as possible, until his 
principles were assailed. Even then, he was not violent, in- 
temperate or extreme in his methods of discussion, but h\> 
>tyle persuasive, without passion, yet firm. 

Dr. Alexander Campbell, a dissenter from all forms of 
established religion in England, emigrated to America in 
1812. He renounced his Presbvterian affiliations, connected 

- Dr. Bufus C. Burleson. 47 

himself with the Baptist with whom he worked in harmony 
for several years. 

Some differences and disagreements arose between him- 
self and this denomination which could not be reconciled and 
Dr. Campbell withdrew from the Baptists and was, for a time 
an independent preacher. His labors as an independent min- 
ister were confined to western Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Vir- 
ginia, making frequent preaching tours through the southern 

By his power on the platform, and serial publications 
"The Christian Baptist" and "Millennial Harbinger" he 
attracted public attention, and finally controlled a powerful 
constituency. In 1827, his converts and adherents com- 
menced to secede, or withdraw from the denominations with 
which they had been co-operating and form separate churches, 
which were christened "Disciples of Christ." 

Dr. Campbell was a great power as an orator and debater 
continued to preach, was very aggressive, and the wave of 
religious disaffection which he originated increased until it 
swept over Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and 
some other southern states with a force that portended, for a 
time, the disruption of many existing religious institutions. 

He seemed to be more hostile toward the Baptist than 
any other denomination, and Baptist churches suffered more 
from his preaching and the proselyting influence of his fol- 
lowers than any other christian organization. 

In some communities whole congregations renounced 
their organic connection with other bodies, dissolved, reor- 
ganized, and went over to the new sect carrying houses of wor- 
ship and other property with them. 

The alarming situation was pressed upon Mr. Burleson's 
attention by observing a little Baptist church near Starkville, 
composed of forty-two members reduced to six, under the in- 
fluence of this new gospel. Dr. K. B. C. Howell, a great light 
in his day among Baptists, and a tower of strength with pen 
and tongue was standing gallantly to his guns in the columns 
of The Tennessee Baptist, and with other loyal preachers, was 
exerting himself with some success to stay this tide which 
Baptists were then stemming. But he needed help, and all 
the help he could get. 

48 The Life and Writings of 

Mr. Burleson saw the peril of the situation, the break in 
Baptist ranks, that the issues were vital, and that every man 
must stay with his colors, and speak, giving forth no uncertain 
sound as to what Baptists might expect unless the influence of 
this powerful propagandist was neutralized. 

He entered the arena, sought controversy, preached 
many sermons in defense of his own creed, (the Bible) show- 
ing the weak places in the code of the new sect, and exhorting 
his own people in burning eloquence to stand firm. 

He had the hearty co-operation of many noble men in 
the campaign, and- the supreme satisfaction of seeing many 
churches reinstated, and the disintegration of others prevented. 
He was not content, however, with the service thus rendered; 
he wanted a broader field, and larger hearing. He therefore 
prepared a series of articles for "The Tennessee Baptist," 
which attracted much attention, excited much favorable com- 
ment, and proved to be a potent factor in quieting this relig- 
ious disturbance. 

In these articles he maintained that we can not exercise 
saving faith in Jesus Christ, and at the same time believe in 
the possibility of baptismal regeneration. 

Baptism was instituted by Jesus Christ Himself, as an 
ordinance, was frequently referred to, by the Savior and New 
Testament writers as such, but never mentioned by either, aa 
a saving ordinance. It was the Christian's first act of obe- 
dience, and typical of the Savior's death, burial and resurrec- 

He maintained that regeneration, and the exercise of a 
saving faith, were indispensible pre-requisites to the adminis- 
tration of the ordinance. 

]STo amount of purely intellectual reformation satisfied the 
demands of Divine Justice, though oceans were exhausted in 
ablutions to wipe away, and cleanse the soul from the stain 
of sin. 

These articles were published weekly in the "Tennessee 
Baptist," and continued for months. They stamped the 
young author as a man of a high order of dialectical power. 

These contributions to the press, his sermons and personal 
work, in this great wave of religious excitement that was 

Dk. Rufus C. Bukleson. 49 

sweeping over the country, had some effect in rendering the 
Baptists steady and loyal to the Church of their fathers. 

The reformers felt the influence of his resistance to the 
inroads made on Baptist ranks, and the urgent necessity of 
quieting him in some way. They knew a resort to argument 
would be fruitless, because that had been unsuccessfully tried. 
So they decided to resort to diplomacy. 

Rev. W. H. Muse, a roommate of Mr. Burleson in Nash- 
ville University, and a very warm personal friend, had heard 
Dr. Campbell, was swept off his feet, renounced his allegiance 
to the Baptists, and surrendered his credentials as a Baptist 
minister, and espoused the cause of the new sect. Mr. Muse 
made the application for Mr. Burleson's license to preach, 
to the Baptist Church in Nashville, accompanying the appli- 
cation with some tender remarks, which were never forgotten. 
For this, as well as other reasons, the attachment between these 
young ministers was very strong. 

The Disciples, therefore, determined the wisest course to 
pursue would be to have Mr. Muse have a personal interview 
with Mr. Burleson, and supplement his strong arguments in 
behalf of the reformers with his personal influence. 

The meeting was held in Huntsville, Alabama, where 
Mr. Muse was preaching his new doctrine to crowded houses. 
He implored his young friend to get out of the ruts, abandon 
his antiquated church. "This new doctrine," he said, "is 
being accepted by the multitude, is rolling from State to 
State, and will ultimately become the dominant controlling 
code in the new world. If you will give it your support now, 
when it becomes an established system, your talents and edu- 
cation will naturally command any position or pastorate 
suited to your taste, or in harmony with your inclination." 

Mr. Burleson accorded his talented schoolmate a respect- 
ful hearing, and then fixing his piercing eyes on Mr. Muse's 
face, he answered: "Some of the tenderest memories of my 
life date from the 12th day of December, 1840, when, in 
earnest, loving words, you recited the story of my conversion 
and call to the ministry when the Church in Nashville licensed 
me to preach the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ. Your 

50 The Life and Writings of 

words I will never, never forget, and they form a bond of love 
and friendship between us that religious differences will never 
sever. On that day I consecrated my energies and power to 
the good old fashion religion of the Bible and my Baptist 
ancestors, which no amount of enthusiasm for new-formed 
religious systems and codes would ever shake. Besides this, 
my brother, you have lost your spiritual bearings under the 
magnetic power and splendid ability of Dr. Campbell, and the 
time will come in your life when you will deplore the course 
you have taken, and regret the earnest appeal you have made 
to-day for me to follow you after strange gods. !N"o, sir, I 
shall stay with my people, and continue as heretofore to defend 
in my feeble way 'the faith once delivered unto the saints.' ' 

With this these schoolmates parted, Mr. Burleson pur- 
suing the even tenor of his way, and Mr. Muse blazing like an 
erratic comet. 

Later Mr. Muse moved to Columbus, Mississippi, estab- 
lished a military school, and used all his brilliant powers of 
mind and influence to disrupt the nourishing Baptist Church, 
of which that great scholar and preacher, Rev. Wm. Carey 
Crane was pastor. He soon became involved in a most violent 
contention with the students in his school, which resulted in 
its destruction. He renounced his recently formed religious 
views, was appointed Secretary of State, applied for reinstate- 
ment in a Baptist Church, and died breathing a prayer for his 
old pastor, Dr. R. B. C. Howell, and his friend and brother, 
R. C. Burleson. 

During this animated discussion, which was much 
warmer between the Baptists and Disciples than any other 
denominations, some of the more intemperate reformers had 
publicly declared that the Baptists were being rendered hors 
de combat by the thousands, and that when the crusade was 
over they would be dead as a denomination. This gloomy 
prognostication of the impending doom which awaited Mr. 
Burleson, and all others who believed as he did, was perhaps 
seriously made, but failed to make a serious impression on the 
Baptists of the South. 

Mr. Burleson became facetious when the threat, or proph- 
ecv, reached his ear, and wrote a serio-comic article, in which 

Db. Kufus C. Burleson. 51 

he gave the substance of a lecture delivered by a theological 
professor to his class as containing the only formula then 
known for killing Baptists, which is here given. 

A Way to Kill the IJapttsts. 

Amid all the inventions of this age of inventions, I learn 
a method has been invented to kill Baptists. This has been 
a desideratum for years, but a want more keenly felt recently 
than ever. 

I learn the experiment is being tried by many of our 
Pedo Baptist friends. The invention was first made public 
under the following circumstances: 

The learned and venerable Dr. A., in an address to his 
class iu a certain theological seminary, said : 5Toung brethren, 
one question which you will have to meet is the controversy 
on baptism. The Baptists are very numerous all over the 
world. They are establishing schools and colleges everywhere, 
and you will have to meet them in argument at every point. 

I forewarn you they can never be killed by persecution; 
this was fully tried all over Europe for 1,800 years, and also 
in the ISTew England States. The fires of Smithfield and else- 
where were kindled in vain. The exile of Roger Williams 
and the whipping of Holmes were bright eras in Baptist 

Their church has always risen from the ashes of pei-secu 
tion like a Phenix, more beautiful and powerful. 

It will be equally useless to meet them in public debate, 
for controversy is the element in which they flourish. Their 
pastors, with nothing but old Bunyan's Jerusalem blade, are 
more than a match for our Doctors of I >i\ inity. 

On matters of doctrine they think they have the authority 
of God's word, and you had just as well try to chunk Pit 
Peak to pieces with pebbles as to convince them to the con- 

The truth is, there is but one way to kill the Baptists, and 
that way is to hug tliem to death. I mean kill them with kind 
ncss. call them dear brethren, invite them to vour communion 
table, urge them to come unite with yon as brethren, and Le 

52 The Life and Writings of 

off the discussion of doctrinal questions. This is the most 
effective, indeed, the only way, to kill the Baptists. 

The old Doctor was right, and many weak-kneed Baptists 
are suffering' themselves to be hugged to death every day, 
while those who are loyal to their convictions are increasing 
very rapidly." 

Mr. Burleson continued his school in Mayhew prairie, 
and also to serve these three churches with most signal ability. 
The membership in each of them increased, contributions to 
missions and other denominational enterprises were large, and 
the relations between pastor and people of the most affection- 
ate and harmonious nature. 

The time, however, had come when these tender ties must 
be severed. He apprised the patrons of the school and 
members of these churches of his intention to resign; they 
were grieved beyond expression; proposed to increase his sal- 
ary and insisted upon his remaining. But he was now twenty- 
one, and had ample means to defray his expenses in college 
until the course was finished. He, therefore, sent in his resig- 
nation to school and churches, which were reluctantly 
accepted. A parting reception was tendered this popular 
young preacher and teacher, and with streaming eyes parish- 
ioner, parent and pupil bid him an affectionate farewell. 

Dr. Burleson's experience in the school room, pulpit and 
social circle in Mayhew prairie was always acounted by him 
in after life to be among the richest and sweetest in social 
enjoyment in all the sixty years he spent in public life. 
Attachments were formed during this time that sixty 
years of separation did not alienate, but filled a large place in 
his heart's affection until his last hour on earth. 

That these tender ties and mellow memories were mutual 
is evidenced by the fact that in 1900, when the Baptists of 
Starkville had completed a new and beautiful church edifice, 
he was preferred above any other man on earth to come and 
dedicate it to the worship of the living God. He went, and 
while preaching the dedicatory sermon stood on the same spot 
where he sat when ordained to the full work of the gospel 
ministry, fifty-five years before. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 53 


From Mayhew Prairie Mr. Burleson Returns to His 
Father's Farm Reviews the Scenes of His Boyhood 
Preaches to His Old Church Bids Farewell to 
Family and Friends, Rides Away to Covington and 
Enters the Western Baptist Theological Seminar v 
Graduates June 8th, 1847 Consecrates His Life 
to Texas Incidents While at the Seminary Beau- 
tiful Story of Dr. William A. Ashmore, That Had 
Its Culmination in Texas Southern People Slan- 
dered Theological Student Resents it Challenge 
Passed A Duel Arranged Young Burleson Pre- 
vents it. 


R. BURLESON had spent five years in teaching and 
preaching in Mississippi, during which time he kept 
up a course of study. His intention had been to 
return to Nashville University. He had, however, completed 
the course prescribed in this institution; granduation was 
hence only a matter of form, conferring no substantial bene- 
fits. He, therefore, decided to change his plans. 

Returning from Mayhew prairie, he spent a few months 
in recreation and rest at his father's mansion on Flint River, 
Alabama, greeting old friends, who gave him the glad hand, 
and congratulated him most warmly upon his first experience 
in the struggle of life, and the brilliant success achieved. He 
reviewed the scenes of his happy childhood, visited the old 
forest through which he had wandered when a boy; sat upon 


The Life and Writings of 

the river bank and feasted his soul upon the familiar scenes, 
while the blue waters sang a rippling sonnet as they passed, 
and went laughing and dancing onward to the sea. 

He ascended the rugged hills, scaled the mountain's 
height, and looked out upon the same sublime prospect that 
had thrilled his boyish mind in former years. 

He gathered chestnuts from the same old tree, plucked 
wild flowers from the same lovely glen, and slaked his thirst 
from the same old spring where he had drank in the rosy morn 
of early youth. 

He visited the grave of his angel mother, and upon this 
little mound of earth, in the quiet twilight, with a tiny star 



occasionally peeping through the cerulean curtains overhead, 
got on his knees, and in broken accents, between sobs, thanked 
his Father in heaven for her pure life, her unstained character, 
noble exam] tie, and her tender, loving care and instruction, to 
which he attributed everything that he was, or could hope to 
be in life. 

When he left Flint River five years before, he was only 
a licentiate, but now he was a full-fledged minister, so his old 
friends asked him to preach, and made an appointment at 
"Mt. Pisgah," the church into whose fellowship he had been 

De. Ruffs C. Buelesox. 55 

baptized. He accepted the invitation with sensations of joy, 
because it was near this place he preached his first sermon in 
1840, when a seventeen-year-old boy, from the text, "Behold 
the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world." 

At the appointed time the house was packed with people, 
from pulpit to door, some of whom had traveled ten miles to 
hear him. 

Mr. Burleson continued to occupy the pulpit of this his 
mother church during- the remainder of the autumn, with 
pleasure to himself and his old neighbors and boyhood friends. 

In January, 1846, he bid farewell to the friends and 
scenes of his infancy on Flint River, and instead of returning 
to the university at Nashville, as he intended, he rode away to 
Covington, Kentucky, and matriculated in the "Western Bap- 
tist Theological Seminary. 

His soul was all aflame with a desire to get to work, but 
felt his equipment was incomplete without a theological 
course so when he entered he resolved to utilize every moment 
in hard study, and complete the course in one year. 

Scores of brilliant young men had tried to accomplish 
this herculean task in former years, but failed; this, however, 
did not discourage Mr. Burleson from making the attempt. 

This ill-fated school at that time was one of the most cele- 
brated institutions for ministerial training in the South. A 
diploma signified that the bearer had mastered a thorough 
course of theological instruction. 

The faculty was composed of illustrious scholars and 
divines. Chairs were filled by Dr. R. Pattison, Dr. Asa 
Drury, Dr. E. Gr. Robinson, and Dr. E. Dodge. Dr. Pattison, 
the President of the Seminary, w T as a graduate of Amherst 
College, and after graduation became a tutor in Columbian 
Universitv, then Professor of Mathematics in Waterville Col- 
lege, and in 1836 was elected to the presidency. He filled a 
chair in Xewton Theological Seminary for six years, and was 
also a member of the faculty of Shurtleff College, Union 
Baptist Theological Seminary, and Oread Institute. 

Dr. Robinson, when he left the seminary at Covington, 
became President of Brown University, founded in 1764, the 
oldest Baptist and among the foremost institutions of learning 

56 The Life and Wettings of 

on the continent, Dr. Burleson also filled at one time the 
chair of theology in Rochester Theological Seminary. He 
filled several fine pastorates, and resigned at Cambridge, Mass., 
to accept the professorship of Biblical interpretation in the 
"Western Baptist Theological Institute at Covington. As a 
scholar, theologian preacher or teacher, he was regarded as 
one of the prof oundest men in his day. 

Dr. Dodge was a full graduate of Brown University, and 
took a course at Newton Theological Seminary. He was 
called to the presidency of Madison University in IS 68, and 
served until 1871, when he was elected President of Hamilton 
Theological Seminary. In both these positions he won fresh 
laurels for accomplished scholarship and profound learning. 

Doctor Drury was a man of much learning, and a worthy 
co-laborer of Drs. Pattison, Robinson and Dodge. There 
were literary and theological institutions in the country more 
liberally endowed, and more famous perhaps, but very few 
with a faculty of a higher order of ability and scholastic learn- 
ing, or with a higher curriculum. 

Mr. Burleson was regarded as a precocious boy, but this 
precocity did not fade with his youth, as is often the case, but 
grew with his manhood, and developed with his growth. 
"When a mere youth he had acquired studious habits, whch five 
years' experience as a teacher had developed into an insatiate 

He was already an accomplished Latin scholar, and had 
also a good knowledge of Greek and Hebrew, and for this 
reason was not only prepared for hard work, but, being thus 
well grounded, had a clear conception of the task he had 
resolved to master during the session. 

His eagerness to finish the course did not in any way 
unsettle his determination to be thorough. In this connection 
it may be remarked that in everything, the most insignificant 
detail, as well as the weightiest and most momentous affairs of 
life, he was thorough. The importance of this, he was fond 
of emphasizing. He was also self-reliant, and made it a rule 
in life never to call on others for anything he could do himself. 
Hundreds of times has this author heard him say in his chapel 
talks, when advising young men, whose training had been com- 

Dr. Rttfus C. Burleson. 57 

mitted to him, "Write your own orations, solve your own 
problems, read your own Latin." 

In taking up the course in the seminary he brought all 
these qualities into requisition. He determined to be thor- 
ough, self-dependent, so as to be able to say at the close of the 
session, "I have mastered the situation." 

With untiring energy and ceaseless application he fin- 
ished the course June the 8th, 1847, with distinction. 

On this day, and at this place, a solemn resolution was 
made of tremendous moment and far-reaching importance to 

After receiving his diploma, Mr. Burleson stepped from 
the building, and standing in the shadow of the walls of his 
Alma Mater, surrounded by preceptors and pupils, he straight- 
ened his tall form to its full stature, with closed eyes, as if to 
shut out the world, while a solemn resolution was being 
formed, he raised his boyish face toward heaven, stretched 
both his arms toward the West, and in a clear voice and elo- 
quent tones he exclaimed : 

"This Day I Consecrate My Life to Texas." 

This resolution was fraught with as much consequence to 
the religious, and educational, affairs of the State as the shout, 
"Remember the Alamo," on the battlefield of San Jacinto. 
The latter gave to Texas her civil, religious and political free- 
dom; the former, her splendid universities and other institu- 
tions of learning. 

There are some incidents connected with Mr. Burleson's 
life, while in the seminary, aside from his studies, worth 
reciting. Many of the theological students had been criti- 
cised, it seems, for depending upon public contributions for 
their expenses. Dr. William A. Ashmore, a classmate of Mr. 
Burleson and a consecrated missionary to China, among the 
number. One of these critics was so rude as to say to young 
Ashmore that he had better return to his home and go to 
work for a living. 

This pierced the heart of this noble young man, and pro- 
duced feelings of great discouragement and despondency. He 
took it as a rebuke from God, for presuming to enter upon the 

58 The Life and Writings of 

holy work of the ministry. He went to the college hall, and 
spent the entire night in sadness, and concluded next morning 
to give up all hope of becoming a minister and missionary, 
and leave Covington for his home. 

Mr. Burleson noticed that his usually bright and happy 
face was sad as he came into the dining hall for breakfast, and 
asked him the cause of his trouble. Mr. Ashmore referred to 
the criticism of the ministerial students, and stated he was 
without money to pay his expenses, and felt if God had called 
him to preach, He would provide a way for him to prepare 
himself, and that he was going home with the sorrowful con- 
viction that he had never been called to the work of the 

These young friends walked together, from the breakfast 
table to Mr. Ashmore' s room. Mr. Burleson took him by the 
hand, and said : "My brother, God is only testing your 
patience and faith, as he did Abraham's. I am able to help 
you. Dorsey A. Outlaw, a friend of mine in Starkville, Mis- 
sissippi, told me when I left that place, nearly two years ago, 
if I ever found a worthy young preacher in need, to let him 
know, and assistance should be forthcoming. Thirty-five dol- 
lars will defray your expenses until the close of the term; here 
is $10.00, and I will write Bro. Outlaw immediately for the 
balance." The letter was written, the money came, and thus 
was this great missionary to the Empire of China enabled to 
finish his preparation to proclaim the unsearchable riches of 
the gospel to these heathen people for nearly fifty years. 

It is a little out of order, but this interesting story has 
a beautiful sequel, which we will here relate. Years after- 
ward Mr. Ashmore refunded this money, and Mr. Burleson, 
wlrile pastor in Houston, chanced to meet Rev. D. B. Morrill, 
who was attending school at Independence, and, on account of 
financial depression and embarrassment, was discouraged, 
despairing and doubtful, just as Mr. Ashmore had been. He 
related his distress to Mr. Burleson, who answered him, say- 
ing: "The Lord has placed $35.00 in my possession, to be 
applied to just such cases. Here it is, return and finish your 
course." The money was accepted with praises, Mr. Morrill 
returned to Independence, completed his studies, and lived to 

Dr. Rufus C. Burlesox. 59 

preach the gospel in every portion of Texas, from Red River 
to the Rio Grande, and thus did Dorsey A. Outlaw's contribu- 
tion of $35.00 in Starkville, Mississippi, enable two zealous 
missionaries to tell the story of everlasting life on both sides 
of the world. 

Another incident of Mr. Burleson's last year at the semi- 
nary is worthy of being preserved. He came of fighting 
stock, and cowards were unknown in the whole line of 
Burleson descent. Rufus C. Burleson himself was a stranger 
to the sensation of fear, but was, at the same time, opposed to 
personal encounters, and during the long years that he had 
control of young men prevented numbers of conflicts. 

On one occasion, in a hotel in Covington, Mr. A. B. 
Brown, a student in the seminary, was seated at the table in 
the dining room with a number of guests. The conversation 
At first was general and pleasant. At length, however, a 
drummer present commenced a violent tirade against the 
Southern people. For a time no attention was paid to his 
violent denunciations. This rather emboldened him, and his 
inferences to the people of the South grew worse. Mr. Brown 
remonstrated with him, saying his remarks about Southern 
people were unpleasant; and, more, that he had evidently 
arrived at his conclusions from ex-parte testimony, and his 
charges and statements .were wholly untrue. This only 
increased the drummer's ire and enmity, and he offered Mr. 
Brown a gross insult. The latter -cizecl a pitcher of water, 
and was in the act of resenting it, but was prevented. 

This so aroused the drummer's indignation that he sprang 
to his feet, and shouted in a voice full of anger : 

"You have publicly insulted me, and I demand satisfac- 
tion. Choose your weapons, and we will settle our 

The young preacher bowed his acceptance, and retired to 
his room. Pistols were selected as the weapons to be used, 
and the time fixed for that evening., in a secluded spot near 

The news spread over Covington like a flash that a young 
theological student and a stranger were to fight a duel that 
evening. Mr. Burleson heard of it, and went at once to 

60 The Life and Writings of 

learn the student's name. When told it was his friend Brown, 
he repaired to his room. He found him in deep meditation, 
walking the floor with folded arms. 

"Why, Brother Brown, are you going to fight a duel?" 

r 'Yes. I have been publicly insulted and challenged* 
and my enemy's blood must be the penalty." 

"I am shocked. You must bear in mind that you are a 
minister, and cannot use carnal weapons," responded Dr. 

r 'Yes, I know this, and deplore the necessity, but I would 
rather die than show the white feather." 

"Trust to me, and perhaps I can effect a settlement of the 
unfortunate affair, without doing either." 

Mr. Brown said : "I appreciate your offer, and thank 
you for your friendship, but I shall be on the ground, with this 
pistol in hand, at the appointed time to the minute." 

Mr. Burleson continued to reason and plead with his 
friend to abandon all thought of thus dishonoring his holy 
calling, until he said : 

"I will not act the coward, but I tell you what I will 
promise you. I will meet the fellow on time, take my posi- 
tion on the field, and when the command is given to fire, I will 
not attempt to shoot my antagonist, but discharge my pistol 
in the air." 

This point gained, he left the room, and sought the drum- 
mer in the hotel. 

He introduced himself, and before he could make known 
his purpose, the drummer said : 

"Well, I suppose you are Mr. Brown's second in the 
affair this evening, and have called to consult with me in refer- 
ence to the detail." 

"ISTo, I am a friend of the unfortunate man, and a fellow- 
minister in the seminarv, and have called on a mission of 
peace. I have just left his room, where I have been pleading; 
with him not to dishonor his life calling by resorting to arms 
to settle a difficulty. I succeeded so far as to get him to 
promise that when the word fire was given this evening, he 
would not aim at you, but discharge his pistol in the air." 

"My Lord, is that young fellow a preacher? Why, my 
mother is a shouting Methodist, and if I were to shoot a 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 


preacher she would never tolerate rue in her presence again 
while the world stands." 

"Yes, he is a preacher and Christian, but in this instance 
he lost his temper, which he very much regrets." 

"Go and tell him, so far as I am concerned, he may con- 
sider the affair settled, and settled forever." 

Mr. Burleson returned to his friend's room, reported the 
conversation he had with the drummer, and had the supreme 
satisfaction of seeing them meet and shake hands, in token of 
their complete reconciliation. 


The Life and Writings of 


Mr. Burleson Applies for Appointment as Missionary to 
Texas to the Missionary Board of the Southern Bap- 
tist Convention Early Texas Missions Mrs. 
Cole's Statement Baptist Preachers in Texas as 
Early as 1812 James K. Jenkins, A. Buffington, H. 
R. Cartmell Birth of Organized Missions -Mr. 
Burleson's Services Accepted Assigned to Duty at 
Gonzales Studies Texas History Character of 
the Early Missionaries. 


R. BURLESOX applied immediately to the Mission 
Board of the Southern Baptist Convention for an 
appointment as missionary to Texas. The board had 
the wisdom to see the immense possibilities of this new and 
rapidly growing country, its destitution, and importance as 
missionary territory. They had already sent some missiona- 
ries to the country, and the policy of the board was to re-en- 
force these as rapidly as the means could be commanded to 
insure their maintenance. 

There is no chapter in Texas history fraught with more 
importance, and possessing more absorbing interest, than the 
history of Baptist missions. Here, as in India and many other 
countries, they were among the first on the ground, proclaim- 
ing the unsearchable riches of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and 
pressing it as containing the rudiments and elementary princi- 
ples of not only religious, but civil and political liberty as 

Dk. Rufus C Burleson. 63 

As early as 1812 Baptist preachers visited Texas, 
preached, conducted prayer meetings and other religious serv- 
ices in the country. Of these, the earliest pathfinders, it is 
to be deplored that the record is obscure and so vague that this 
statement is in its widest sense a deduction. It is also deeply 
regretted, for the credit of Baptists and the truth of history, 
that names, exact dates, and precise localities cannot be given. 

Mrs. John P. Cole, who was a Baptist, and one of Aus- 
tin's original 300 colonists, and third person to cross to the 
west side of the Brazos in 1822, says she attended some kind 
of a religious servdce in that year, conducted by a Baptist 
minister. This minister, whose name, unfortunately, she did 
not remember, informed her that he had been in East Texas 
for some time. The term "some time," we admit, is indefin- 
ite, but it is conservative to say the first religious service held 
by a Baptist preacher was, as is stated, in 1812, for the reason 
that all historians agree that many emigrants came to Texas 
in that year. Mrs. Cole's statement is worthy of credence, 
first, because she was an intellectual woman; second, being the 
wife of Judge John P. Cole, the first Alcalde of the munici- 
pality of Washington, the first Rigadore of the district, and 
the first Chief Justice of Washington County, she had excep- 
tionally good opportunities for acquiring information as to 
current events in those early days. 

Rev. Preeman Smalley came to the State in 1824, and 
preached at Pecan Point, on Red River. 

Rev. Joseph Bays came in 1825, and preached in the 
house of Moses Shipman, near San Pelipe. Mr. Shipman 
was a cousin of Rev. Rufus C. Burleson, which fact may be 
significant, as later statements in this volume will show. 

Rev. Thomas Houks came to Texas from Tennessee in 
1829, and conducted a religious meeting, also in Mr. Ship- 
man's house. 

Rev. Isaac Reed settled near ISTacogdoches in 1831, and 
preached from house to house, as permission was granted for 
him to do so. 

Rev. R. Marsh, though advanced in life, settled on the 
San Jacinto River in 1835, and did some missionary work. 

Rev. Isaac Crouch, with many families, settled on the 

64 The Life axd Writings of 

Colorado River, near Bastrop, in 1834, did some work, moved 
in 1836 to the Little Brazos River, in Milan County, where 
he was killed by the murderous Indians. 

Rev. Z. ~N. Morrell, the most zealous and active mission- 
ary who, at that time had labored in the State, came to Texas 
in 1835. He was a man of a high order of native ability, bold 
in proclaiming the truth, aggressive in his operations, and 
became a noted character in religious, as well as the affairs of 

Judge R. E. B. Baylor came to the State in 1838 from 
Alabama. He had served two terms in Congress previous to 
coming to Texas. He was an eminent lawyer, and was called 
to public life soon after his arrival, and filled the office of 
District Judge for seventeen consecutive years. He presided 
over the court during the week, preached Saturday nights and 
Sunday, and exercised unbounded influence over the religious 
sentiment of the people. 

Rev. T. W. Cox settled in Washington in 1838. assisted 
in the organization of several churches, and rendered other 
service of importance and value. 

Rev. Asa Wright joined Rev. Z. !N". Morrell in 1839, and 
with this veteran gospel minister preached on the Colorado 
and Brazos Rivers. 

In September, 1837, Rev. Richard Ellis located in old 
Washington, and for many years supplied the destitution east 
and west of the Brazos, in that vicinitv. 

Rev. ~N. T. Byars settled in Washington and opened a 
blacksmith shop in 1835. In this shop, there is evidence to 
believe, the declaration of Texas' Independence was written 
and signed, March 2d, 1836. His service was long and valu- 
able in the cause of education and religion in the early days. 

All these preachers, of whom the above is only intended 
as the merest notice, and many other noble spirits not men- 
tioned, were powerful factors in laying the foundation upon 
which the mighty structure of Baptist affairs now rests in 
Texas; they were, however, independent missionaries, operat- 
ing upon their own responsibility, and depending on their own 

At this time no organized mission movement had been 

Dk. Rufus C. Burleson. G5 

directed toward the State by any of the powerful societies east 
of the Mississippi River or in the Northern States. The popu- 
lation of Texas was increasing so rapidly, the demand for 
preachers becoming so urgent, that wise members of the scat- 
tered, struggling churches saw the necessity of proceeding 
upon systematic plans in the work of evangelizing the country, 
and planting the Baptist standard so firmly that it would stand 
through all the uncounted ages. 

Hon. James R. Jenkins, Rev. A. Buffington, and Deacon 
PL R. Cartmell constituted the wise trio to inaugurate this 
movement. Judge Jenkins was a member of the Congress 
of the Republic, a. distinguished lawyer and a famous and 
popular statesman and politician. Judge "Warwick TT. 
Jenkins, of McLellan County, a finer spirit than whom does 
not live in Texas or elsewhere, is the only surviving sou, and 
the worthy antitype of this famous and useful character in 
early Texas history. 

Rev. Buffington and Deacon Cartmell were distinguished 
among their fellows for good sense and fine judgment. These 
three gentlemen not only enjoyed the confidence and esteem 
of the people among whom they then lived, but occupied posi- 
tions of prominence in the States from which they hailed. 

It was most fortunate, therefore, that they took the 
initiative in the matter of inducing missionary socities to do 
something for Texas, as it gave the movement prestige at 
home and abroad. 

After stating their plans to the Baptist Church at Wash- 
ington, of which they were members, that organization, con- 
fiding in their wisdom and integrity of purpose, appointed 
them on a committee with authority to act in the premises, 
in obedience to the dictates of their best judgment. The 
committee held frequent meetings, discussed the situation in 
all its aspects and bearings, with a view of formulating a plan 
upon which to proceed. 

1 1 was finally determined, as a preliminary measure, to 
issue a stirring appeal to the Home Mission Board, setting 
forth the destitution in Texas, and the present as well as com- 
ing importance of the country. 

Judge Jenkins was an alumnus of Mercer University, in 

66 The Life and Writings of 

Georgia, personally acquainted, and a warm friend of Dr. 
Jesse Mercer, its patron and benefactor, and sent him a copy 
of the address issued by the committee. 

Dr. Mercer was so touched by the statements made and 
so impressed with the importance of Texas as a mission field 
that he sent the Home Mission Board a draft for $2,500. In 
his letter enclosing the draft, Dr. Mercer took occasion to say : 

"The splendid climate and rich soil of Texas are destined 
to attract a vast population which must be evangelized, for 
which purpose I send you $2,500, and will double it when 

The board acted at once on Dr. Mercer's suggestion, 
and sent Rev. James Huckins to the State, and a little later 
on Rev. William M. Tryon. This was the origin and begin- 
ning of organized missions in Texas, and while the great and 
good Dr. Mercer furnished money for the support of the first 
missionaries, Judge James R. Jenkins, a layman, may be 
very justly styled the father of Baptist missions in the State, 
since it was directly through his intervention that another was 
moved to furnish the necessary means to insure the success of 
the movement. 

In 1846 Rev. P. B. Chandler came to the State as an 
appointee of the Mission Board, and Rev. J. W. D. Creath, 
under an appointment from the Board of Domestic Missions 
of the Southern Baptist Convention. 

The convention was now thoroughly aroused on the 
subject of occupying Texas, the organization of churches, and 
establishing all denominational enterprises, and at every ses- 
sion of the convention proper, or meeting of the Mission 
Board during the interim of sessions, volunteers were called 
for, and inducements offered for men to go as missiQnaries to 
this young and promising country. 

Mr. Burleson's services were, therefore, readily accepted, 
and he was assigned to the little frontier church at Gonzales. 
He was notified officially of his appointment, and the place 
where he had been assigned to duty. He went to his father's 
house for the purpose of spending a few months in studying 
Texas history, and acquainting himself, as far as possible, 
with the character, habits and customs of the people. It was 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 67 

his purpose, also, to review the lives of the world's most emi- 
nent and successful pioneers and foundation builders, so that 
mistakes might be minimized in his field operations. 

It is questionable whether there was ever in any new 
country a more brilliant galaxy of preachers than were now 
on duty in Texas, as regular appointees of some missionary 
society, or operating independently. Wm. M. Tryon, James 
Huckins, Henry L. Graves, R. E. B. Baylor, Rufus C. 
Burleson, J. W. D. Creath, ]SToah Hill and scores of others, 
who could have filled acceptably any pulpit on the continent, 


or graced any social assembly in America, were either here, or 
en route, to devote their splendid abilities to the cause of re- 
ligious truth, and convert the trackless wilderness into a 
radiant park of blooming beauty. 

It can be also said, with the utmost regard for truth, and 
is here, we trust, placed on a deathless record to their everlast- 
ing credit, that they did not decide to consecrate their lives to 
this new country, and suffer innumerable privations of every 
kind, because there were not other fields open to them, but 
they came as a matter of choice; because they loved Texas 

68 The Life and Writings of 

with a supreme devotion, and their souls burned with 
unquenchable fire to serve their Master in this particular 

Once here, there was never a time when they all, without 
exception, could not have returned, without dishonor to them- 
selves, to the most popular pastorates in the States from which 
they came; but they elected to live, and labor, and die in Texas 
that she might become transcendently great, through their 
heroic immolation and struggles. 

"While Mr. Burleson was at his father's, preparing, as 
stated, to come to Texas, events were transpiring of a far-, 
reaching character, which caused the board to reconsider its 
determination of sending him to Gonzales. Unaware of the 
action of the board, the Colorado River Association had sup- 
plied that vacant pastorate. But this was not the most 
important event necessitating a change in their plans. 

Bev. William M. Tryon, one of the first missionaries sent 
to Texas, one of the most eminent men, the foremost preacher 
in the State, pastor of the Baptist Church in Houston, had 
fallen a victim of yellow fever. 

Owing to the prominence of this man, the prominence of 
this pastorate, and the fact that it was one of the important 
events in Mr. Burleson's life, we deem it worthy of more than 
a passing notice, and will refer to it more fully in the following 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 69 


Rev. Wm. M. Tryon Called to the Houston Pastorate 
Dec. 1st, 1845 Dies at Sundown Nov. 16th, 1847 
Resolutions of the Houston Church Mr. Burleson 
Appointed to Succeed Him Starts for Texas 
Reflections en Route Reaches New Orleans- 
Takes a Steamer and Arrives in Galveston Jan. 5th, 
1848 Meets Dr. J. F. Hillyer Preaches His First 
Sermon in Texas From the Text, "For I Determined 
Not to Know Anything Among You Save Jesus Christ 
and Him Crucified." 


T a business meeting of the members of the Baptist 
Church in Houston, held at the residence of Colonel 
T. B. J. Hadley, on the 1st day of December, 1845, 
Rev. William M. Tryon was called to the pastorate. He had 
accepted an appointment as missionary to Texas from the 
American Baptist Home Mission Society in January, 1841, 
moved to the State, and located at Washington. The follow- 
ing year he erected a commodious residence on Hidalgo Bluff, 
four miles west of that town, which is still standing. 

In addition to his most successful work as missionary, 
he filled some of the most important pastorates in the State, 
among which may be mentioned Washington, Independence 
and Providence Church, near Chappell Hill. He was con- 
ceded to be a profound scholar, a man of great ability, and the 
most distinguished preacher at that time in the Republic. 

TO The Life and Writings of 

After conferring with the Home Mission Society, with 
reference to his call to Houston, he decided to accept it, and 
accordingly moved to that city, and presided over the first 
church conference held under his pastoral care July 21st, 

His fame had preceded him to Houston, and members of 
this congregation were full of hope that victory would quickly 
follow victory under his wise leadership. In this, however, 
they were doomed to sore disappointment, for at sundown, 
November 16th, 1847, as before stated, he fell at his post a 
victim of yellow fever, just eighteen months after being 
installed as pastor. 

Mr. Tryon was unsurpassed in the city as a pulpit orator. 
His sermons were incisive, and at the same time profound in 
character. He possessed much personal magnetism, and it is 
a question whether any pastor ever, in so short a time, 
enthroned himself more securely in the hearts of the people. 

November 17th a church conference was held at the resi- 
dence of Mr. Cavanough, at which the death of Pastor Tryon 
was formally announced, and the Church spread on the record 
the following eloquent tribute to his memory : 

"Whereas, About sundown on Tuesday evening, Novem- 
ber 16th, 1847, it pleased Almighty God to take to Himself 
our beloved pastor, William M. Tryon; therefore, be it 

"Resolved, That we, the members of the Church placed 
immediately under his guardianship and pastoral care, do bear 
willing testimony to the efficiency and faithfulness of his 
labors as pastor and preacher of the everlasting gospel, the 
uprightness and purity of his character as a Christian, and his 
humility and devotedness to the cause of Christ. 

Resolved, Individually and collectively, we feel deeply 
the loss we have sustained, and whilst we would kiss the rod 
that chastises, and receive the chastisement as coming from 
the hand of the kindest parent, we cannot but deeply deplore 
the bereavement that has caused a vacuum in our hearts and 
in our midst we know not how to fill." 

Not only the members of this congregation, but the entire 
city of Houston sorrowed over the death of this great and good 

Dk. Rufus C. Buelesox. - 71 

The congregation and friends felt the importance of fill- 
ing the pastorate of the church in this growing city, and knew, 
at the same time, the high esteem in which the deceased pas- 
tor was held by all classes of people would render the selection 
of his successor a most delicate and difficult undertaking. 

They resolved to keep up all the services of the church, 
and at the same conference that passed the resolutions deplor- 
ing Dr. Tryon's death, appointed a committee to take imme- 
diate steps to secure his successor. 

This committee appealed to the Board of Southwestern 
Missions for suggestions as to a suitable minister for the 

The board answered the committee that the wishes of 
the church had been anticipated, and Rev. Eufus C. Burleson 
had been approved for the position. 

The action of the board was communicated to the church 
at a regular conference, called to hear the report of the com- 
mittee, and resolutions passed that T. B. J. Hadley be 
instructed to notify both the board and Mr. Burleson that its 
action was approved and its choice accepted. 

Col. Hadley notified Mr. Burleson, who was at that time 
on his father's plantation near Decatur, Alabama, and, while 
his resolution to consecrate his life to Texas had never wavered 
for one moment, he was overwhelmed with the thought of 
attempting even to fill the place of so great a man as he knew 
Dr. Tryon to be. 

While these grave doubts and misgivings as to his ability 
to fill the Houston pastorate, with acceptance to the people, 
and any degree of satisfaction to himself, he has often been 
heard to say in later years : "A small voice whispered in my 
ear, 'My grace is sufficient.' : 

His preparation for the long journey was hastily com- 
pleted, and this young Alabamian, at the age of twenty-four, 
started for the wilderness of Texas, which he had selected as 
a field of operations. While en route to ]STew Orleans, his 
great purpose in life was constantly on his mind. He 
reviewed the hardships and struggles of the colonists from 
1822 to 1836. Vivid pictures of the glorious achievements 
of Sam Houston and his noble band of patriots at San Jacinto 
floated before his vision as westward he directed his footsteps. 

72 The Life and Writings of 

With truly prophetic eye, he saw the desolate waste 
occupied by a thrifty, teeming population, opulent cities 
springing up in every part of the territory, with bustling- 
streets, humming factories, and church spires pointing toward 
the heaven above. Vast fields of waving grain were spread 
out in his busy mind, and lowing herds were peacefully graz- 
ing on the expansive prairies. 

This magnificent panorama of the growth and develop- 
ment of Texas passed through his mind with a distinctness 
that was positively startling. 

He arrived in Xew Orleans about the 2nd of January, 
expecting to be detained some time, owing to the meager and 
uncertain transportation facilities between that city and Texas 
at that time. But, fortunately, a steamer was just ready to 
leave. He secured his passage and went aboard, and was soon 
moving down the Mississippi to its mouth. 

When his vessel emerged from the river, crossed the bay 
and entered the Gulf, he spent much time on the deck watch- 
ing the rolling, restless waters. Every billow was distinct 
and all formed the mighty sea. The Latin proverb, "Quam 
iluctus diversi, quam marie conjuncti," as distinct as the bil- 
lows, as one as the sea, came to his mind, and he exclaimed, 
"What an appropriate and magnificent motto that would be for 
the Baptists of the world. Each church, sovereign in itself, 
and all the churches in harmonious co-operation, constituting 
a mighty spiritual force and power in the world. 

The voyage across the Gulf of Mexico was made without 
accident or adventure, and Mr. Burleson landed in Galveston 
January the 5th, 1848, about ten days after leaving his 
father's home on Flint River. 

He felt a sense of loneliness as he pressed beneath his feet 
the soil of the State that was to be his new home, and was 
more profoundly impressed with the scope and tremendous 
importance of his mission than ever before.. He was bound 
by a solemn resolution, deliberately made, to consecrate his 
life to Texas, and with him a resolution was much more than 
a string of idle words. It contained a principle and a pur- 
pose, as well as a sentiment. 

His resolution to live, and labor, and die in Texas, how- 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 73 

ever, was now a more palpable reality than it was in Coving- 
ton, or had ever been. 

He had no regrets for having made it, had burned the 
bridges behind him, and was as steady as Gibraltar in his 

As he walked alone on the beautiful beach of the Island 
City, the morning after his arrival, his soul swelled with the 
same spirit that filled the heart of John Knox when he cried, 
"Oh ! God, give me Scotland for Jesus or I die." So this 
young stripling preacher fell upon his knees in the sand, and 
cried, "Oh ! God, give me Texas for Jesus, or I die." The 
foaming breakers almost hushed as a mark of respect to the 
burning earnestness of this talented young man, his fidelity to 
his convictions, sublime devotion to duty, and his unconquered 
and unconquerable love for Texas. 

The boat on which Mr. Burleson expected to take pas- 
sage for Houston was not scheduled to leave the wharf until 
4 o'clock, so he spent the time in calling on Alabama and 
Mississippi friends who had preceded him to the State. Among 
the number was Dr. J. F. Hillyer, pastor of the Baptist 
Church, formerly professor of natural science in Mercer Uni- 
versity, Georgia. Very soon after Mr. Burleson's presence 
in Galveston was known, he was requested by the pastor and 
many citizens to remain and preach that night. Many of the 
old soldiers who had fought for Texas' freedom, under Gen. 
Ed. Burleson, in the revolution of 1836, lived in the city at 
that time, and they were especially anxious to hear his young- 
cousin preach. 

Mr. Burleson consented, and a large congregation greeted 
him. He selected for the text of the first sermon he ever 
delivered in Texas, "For I determined not to know anything 
among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified." 

The greater part of the next day was spent in visiting 
and driving over the city, his impressions of which may be 
seen from language used by him afterward, "A more beauti- 
ful city I never saw. The whole island was covered with 
oleanders, the residences decorated with roses and lilies bloom- 
ing beautifuly in mid-winter, and I felt in my soul, 'Paradise,' 
the old Aztec name of Texas, was most befitting and 


The Life and Writings of 

Mr. Burleson, with so many acquaintances in Galveston, 
and the reception accorded him was so cordial, whole-souled 
and unstinted, the feeling of loneliness disappeared, and he 
felt himself to be in the house of his friends. He was 
impressed with the beauty of Texas, so far as he had been 
able to observe it. Impressed also with its immense possibili- 
ties, and the boundless and limitless opportunities for work. 
These impressions were so strong that his enthusiasm was 
rekindled, and the resolution made in Covington, to consecrate 
his life in promoting its growth, was, if possible, a more settled 

De. Rufus C. Burleson. 75 


Me. Burleson's Aeeival in Houston Meets a Coedial 
Reception Confeonted with Difficulties -Members 
Discouraged Disbanded Soldiees feom Mexico 
Gold Discoveeed in California Excitement in 
Texas People Restless Revival in Galveston 
Results Rev. Noah Hill. 

^fl[ R. BURLESON arrived in Houston from Galveston 
January 7th, 1848, and reported to the Deacons of 
the Baptist church for duty, immediately. His 
welcome was such that only honest, earnest, christian souls 
can feel when their hopes have been shattered, and their forces 
despairing and disorganized. 

After counseling with those familiar with the condition 
of affairs, he commenced the work of reorganizing, with the 
hearty co-operation of every member of the church. 

On account of the culmination and settlement of the 
civil and military events between the United States and 
Mexico, the restless condition of the people, owing to the 
discovery of gold on the Pacific coast, the time of Mr. Burle- 
son's arrival in Texas was a little unfortunate, and the situa- 
tion more difficult to handle than would have been the case 
under different circumstances. This will be easily under- 
stood, and readily appreciated by reading the following extract 
from Emerson's History of the Nineteenth century: 

"The President of the Mexican Congress assumed provis- 
ional authority, and on February 2nd, 1848, that body at 
Gnadaloupe Hidalgo concluded peace with the United States. 
With slight amendments the treaty was ratified by the United 

76 The Life and Writings of 

States senate, March the 10th, and by the Mexican Congress 
at Queratero May the 10th. President Polk on July 4th 
following, finally proclaimed peace. The Americans under 
the terms of the treaty evacuated Mexico within three months. 
While these negotiations were under way, Colonel Sutter had 
begun the erection of a mill at Colonna on the American 
branch of the Sacramento river. In January one Marshall 
who was engaged in digging a race for the mill found a metal 
which he had not seen before and on testing it in the fire found 
it was gold. The "finds" were sent to Sacramento and tested 
with the result that they were declared to be pure gold. The 
mint of Philadelphia also declared the metal to be gold, and 
the President called attention to the fact in his annual message 
to Congress. The gold seekers poured into California. They 
arrived in multitudes from all parts of America and other 
countries thousands tracking across the plains and mountains 
with ox teams and on foot, and other thousands crossing the 
Isthmus with scarcely less difficulty, while around the Horn a 
steady procession of ships passed up the coast of South 
America and Mexico to the new Eldorado. In two vears the 
population of California increased 100,000, and still the hordes 
of gold seekers came." 

With Texas swarming with disbanded soldiers fresh from 
fields of victorv, who are alwavs more or less abandoned, and 
the population of the state with its mind turned toward the 
gold fields, and many leaving from under the very shadow of 
Baylor University and the church in Houston, and with the 
feverish conditions everwhere prevailing, we repeat, compli- 
cated Dr. Burleson's situation, but did not swerve him one 
iota from his purpose. 

On the 4th day of March, 1848, a conference of the 
church was held. The clerk, Colonel T. B. J. Hadley, presented 
Mr. Burleson's letter from the Baptist church at Xewport, 
Kentucky, and on motion he was received into full fellowship 
and according to a resolution previously passed, invited to take 
his place as pastor of the church and moderator of the Con- 

The new pastor gave an outline of his plan of work and 
invited the earnest aid and support of every member as an 
essential to success. He stated that manv churches had been 

De. Rufus C. Burlesox. 77 

seriously crippled in their work, and others disrupted by 
incumbrances of debt, and asked that a special committee be 
appointed to investigate the financial condition of the church 
and report at the next conference. The committee was 
appointed, and reported on the 6th of May that the total in- 
debtedness was $950.00. Plans were at once formulated for 
its liquidation. The members of the church rallied manfully 
around their new pastor, the congregations increased from the 
first sermon, until the seating accommodation of the house 
was taxed to its utmost capacity. New members were 
received at almost every service. Pastor Burleson had been 
in the State only from January to May, but in these five 
months had made a reputation which was by no means con- 
fined to the city of his residence. He received many invitations 
to conduct protracted meetings and to preach on special occa- 
sions. He was too much absorbed in his pastoral work to 
accept these invitations. 

Dr. Hillyer came up from Galveston, and stated to the 
Houston pastor that he was making very little progress in his 
church work, and that he must go down and hold a meeting. 
Mr. Burleson said to him that he was entirely too busy to 
leave his work for even a day, and, besides, had no experience 
as a revivalist. 

Dr. Hillyer was very importunate, would take no refusal, 
and Mr. Burleson finally referred him to his deacons. 

The deacons expressed a willingness to excuse their pas- 
tor for a few days, and Mr. Burleson consented. The inter- 
esting story of this, his first revival in Texas, we give in his 
own language : 

"The third Sunday in June, 1848, I went to Galveston 
to commence a protracted meeting with the Baptist Church 
of which Dr. Hillyer was pastor, and rejoiced to find our noble 
Bro. jSToah Hill, of Matagorda, already there to assist me. No 
interest whatever had been worked up by the members, and 
the congregations were fearfully reduced. Bro. Hillyer had 
given up all thought of having a revival held; said the bottom" 
had dropped out of his church, and he had determined to 
return to Mississippi and accept a professorship in the State 
TJniversitv, and as the trustees met in Jackson the following 

^8 The Life and Writings of 

Tuesday, he had to leave Saturday morning. But, he said, I 
have prepared a room for yourself and Bro. Hill, and you can 
preach Saturday night and Sunday, and as much longer as 
you choose. 

"I determined to return to Houston, deeming it folly to 
try to hold a meeting in a church, where not only the bottom 
had fallen out, but the head dropped off also. Bro. Hill, see- 
ing my intention, said: 'Before you go back to Houston I 
want you to go by an humble cottage where there are two 
devout, but poor women, who have been holding a daily 
prayer meeting every evening since the protracted meeting 
was announced. One of them has a drunken husband; the 
other a promising son, who is becoming a drunkard, and their 
only hope is that they may be converted during the meeting.' 

"When we reached the humble cottage the door was 
partly open, and these children of God were praying. We 
bowed our heads, and silently joined in their prayer. Oh ! 
such an agonizing prayer I had never before heard ! At the 
close of the prayer, Bro. Hill rapped, and both women came 
to the door, with eyes full of tears. He said : 'Sisters, I have 
brought Bro. Burleson to see you, but your pastor has given 
him such a mournful account of Galveston Church, he is going 
home without making an effort to hold a revival.' 

"They immediatelv seized my hand and said : 

'"Oh! brother, do not leave us; oh! my husband; oh! 
my son will fill a drunkard's grave and a drunkard's hell, 
unless converted during this meeting, and we have been pray- 
ing for you every day for a month, and God will hear our 
prayers and bless us with a glorious revival. Oh ! do stay !' 

"While they held my hands, tears streaming from their 
eyes, we knelt in prayer for divine direction; the glorious 
promise came rushing into my soul, 'Where two or three are 
gathered together in my name, there am I in their midst' I 
then said, Sisters, I will stay, and I feel that God will bless 
our meeting. We at once announced a prayer service for that 
night, and preaching for Saturday night and Sunday. 

"Saturday night we had a fair audience, and Sunday 
morning and evening the building was crowded with people, 
remarkable for intelligence and refinement. Among them 
ex-Governor H. G. Runnels of Mississippi, his wife and two 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 79 

nieces; Mayor J. S. Sydnor, wife, and two lovely daughters; 
also his father-in-law, Mr. White, and family; Col. Grail 
Borden, wife, son and daughter; Mrs. Howard and daughter, 
and many others. 

"We called a special meeting Monday for all who earn- 
estly desired to become Christians. The meeting was well 
attended, and some of the most influential citizens, and several 
young ladies celebrated for beauty, leaders of fashion and ball 
rooms, were present, and came forward for prayer. 

"The revival soon became the leading topic of discussion 
in the newspapers and social circle. The power of God in the 
meeting may be seen from this very remarkable case : 

"A committee of elegant young men, one of them the 
County Judge, called to see me, and said very courteously : 
'We come to make a very remarkable request, and we hope 
you will not refuse. Galveston has been making great prepa- 
rations for her annual Fourth of July ball, next week. We 
have already spent over $1,000.00 in making preparation for 
it, and have sent out tickets to Houston, Richmond, Mata- 
gorda and all the towns adjacent, and were expecting a grand 
time, but the wonderful meeting in the Baptist Church is 
interfering greatly with our plans. It is a > remarkable fact, 
that twelve or fifteen beautiful young ladies, who are known 
as our ball room belles, are going up for prayer every night, 
and have written notes to their escorts asking them to be 
released from their promises to accompany them to the ball. 
We come, therefore, to ask you to suspend your meeting until 
after the ball, and then we promise you to do all we can to 
assist you.' 

" 'Gentlemen,' I said, 'I cannot grant your request. The 
devil has had full sway in Galveston a long time, and now the 
church has got the start, and we cannot suspend.' 

"In their disappointment they said courteously, but with 
self-confidence, 'If you do not, we will break up your meet- 
ing.' I assured them, kindly, that the meeting was from the 
Power of God, and that neither man nor devil could break 
it up. 

"But that night, when the congregation had assembled, 
and I was about ready to commence preaching, our young 

80 The Life axd Writings of 

ladies were conspicuously absent, but very soon they came 
walking up the aisle, each with her ball room escort, and took 
their seats side by side. Their trick was for each young man 
to go with his girl to church, whoop up the glories of the 
dance, take his seat by her, as they thought the girls would 
not have the moral courage to leave them and go up for 

"I said to Bro. Hill, that trick of the devil so confuses 
me that I cannot preach to-night. He said no, everybody 
came to hear you, and I cannot preach. I said, Well, if I 
preach, I will close the pulpit door, and you kneel down and 
pray all the time I am preaching. I closed the door, he 
kneeled, and remained on his knees in earnest prayer through- 
out the entire time. As I heard his earnest breathings, I felt 
a new inspiration, and preached with melting power. 

"At the close of the sermon, I called upon all who wished 
to escape a burning hell and be saved in heaven, to come 
forward and kneel at the altar. 


Miss Columbia Sydnor, a native of Virginia, but then 
a belle of Galveston, first rose, and with queenly dignity, and 
leaving the County Judge, came and knelt for prayer. Imme- 
diately all the young ladies followed her example, leaving 
their ball room escorts looking blank and bewildered. 

"There were several conversions that night, the meeting 
went on gloriously, and the Fourth of July ball was a failure. 

"The next painful hitch was about my talk on baptism. 
On the following Sunday, at 4 o'clock p. m., twelve young 
converts were to be baptized in a beautiful little lake, sur- 
rounded by blooming oleanders, pink and white. It is said 
that two thousand people were present to witness the 

"As is always my custom, I explained briefly and lov- 
ingly that the beautiful ordinance of baptism is to remind us 
vividly of our Savior's baptism in the River Jordan, and also 
of His burial and glorious resurrection, and that it was also 
designed to illustrate our future burial and resurrection, and 
to proclaim to the world that we had died to sin, were now 
'buried in holy baptism, and raised up to walk in newness of 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 81 

''This brief explanation astonished many of that assem- 
blage, who saw a beauty and solemnity in baptism never 
dreamed of before. Indeed, it shook the faith of many who 
believed in other modes, who had been attending the meeting. 

"Some of these said : "If Bro. Burleson is going to turn 
this great revival into a mean proselyting affair, we will have 
nothing more to do with it.' 

"Colonel Gail Borden, a member of the Baptist Church, 
editor of the first newspaper published in the Republic, and 
whose soul was so full of the milk of human kindness that 
three years afterward he invented condensed milk, from which 
he amassed an immense fortune, could not bear the thought of 
offending any one, even by proclaiming God's truth. 

"He begged me to say nothing more whatever about bap- 
tism. I told him God said, 'Ye are my witnesses,' and the 
faithful witness must tell the truth, the whole truth and noth- 
ing but the truth, regardless of whom it offended. As a wit- 
ness of God, therefore, I was bound to preach the truth on 
baptism, communion, and every truth in the Bible, even if it 
should carry me, like grand old John Bunyan, to jail, or 
Obadiah Holmes, to the whipping post. 

"The following Sunday evening I baptized seventeen 
others, and before that large audience I repeated my explana- 
tion of the Scriptural meaning and Heavenly import of bap- 
tism. Colonel Borden was still more wrought up, and threat- 
ened to call a meeting of the Deacons, and request me to say 
nothing more about baptism. 

''I told him all the Deacons on earth could not prevent 
me, as God's witness, from telling the whole truth. But his 
lovely daughters and noble son were joyfully converted and 
baptized, which gave him too much happiness to remain in a 
bad mood, and he gave me his hand and a carte blanche to 
preach just as I pleased. 

"The meeting continued four weeks, during which time 
there were fifty conversions and twenty-seven baptisms. 
Among this number were found the very flower of the young 
people of Galveston, with some elderly people of great 

"D. B. Morrill, who, like Jonah, had left Vermont and 

82 The Life axd Writings of 

come to Texas to avoid preaching, was so powerfully awakened 
that he decided to give up a lucrative business, and consecrate 
his life to the gospel ministry. The two humble sisters whose 
prayers brought down from Heaven this great outpouring of 
the Spirit of God, were made unspeakably happy by seeing, 
one a husband, the other a son, soundly converted." 

The experience in this meeting, and the acquaintances 
formed during its progress, gave Mr. Burleson clearer concep- 
tions of the kind of work most needed, the magnitude of the 
State, and some of the difficulties that must be met and mas- 

Kev. Noah Hill, who assisted him, was then pastor of 
the Baptist Church in the nourishing town of Matagorda. He 
had been in the State two years, had traveled over the counties 
of Wharton, Matagorda, Jackson, Calhoun, Victoria,- and 
other portions of the State, was well informed as to the condi- 
tions existing, and was, therefore, in position to give Mr. Bur- 
leson much accurate and exact information, from personal 
knowledge, as to the troubles that would be encountered. 

After the evening service these two preachers would 
often spend the greater portion of the night in discussing 
Texas, the future, as well as the present. 

Mr. Burleson, being twelve years younger than his 
co-laborer, was much impressed with his splendid natural 
ability; "his commanding appearance; his clear, deep-toned 
voice; his expressive eye and beaming countenance; his forci- 
ble arguments and clear reasoning; his melting and overpow- 
ering pathos as he preached Jesus to a dying world, often 
comforted the troubled heart, pointed the inquirer to the 
cross, and sounded the note of alarm in the ear of the trans- 

So strong were these impressions of Mr. Hill's match- 
less pulpit ability, that two years afterward, in 1850, when 
the Church in Houston decided to have a protracted meeting, 
the young pastor preferred him, above any other preacher in 
the State, to conduct it. 

His judgment was not at fault; the meeting was held and 
proved to be a splendid success. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 83 


Returns to Houston From Galveston Meeting Prose- 
cutes Church Work Accessions Fame as an Evan- 
gelist Receives Many Invitations to Hold Meetings 
Revival in Brenham Congregation of One Man 
Boys Try to Smoke Him Out -Devil With Hot 
Chain Judge Baylor's Exhortation New Years 
Creek Church Forms an Arm at Brenham Mr. 
Burleson Presides Over the Conference, and is 
Elected First Pastor. 



R. BURLESON returned to Houston from the great 
Galveston meeting with fresh inspiration and enthu- 
siasm, and prosecuted church work along all lines. 
Accessions to the church were received at almost every serv- 
ice. The members, as well as the entire congregation, mani- 
fested much interest in all denominational enterprises, both in 
the State and in the country at large, and contributed liberally 
toward their maintenance. 

The people of Texas were evidently impressed that he 
Avas gifted as an evangelist, for, on his return to his charge in 
Houston, he received many pressing invitations from churches 
in different portions of the State to visit them and conduct 
revival meetings. He was naturally fond of this kind of 
religious activity, but his pastoral engagements were of an 
exacting nature, and he was forced to decline most of these 
invitations on this account. 

One of these calls came from Brenham, a small village, 

84 The Life and Writings of 

seventy-two miles west from Houston, and was signed bv 
seventy-three persons, regardless of church connections. 

Mr. Burleson's plan when he settled in Houston was to 
devote every spare day and leisure hour to missionary labor. 
He was so much impressed with the cordial character of the 
invitation from Brenham that, after receiving permission from 
his Church to do so, he accepted it, and fixed the date for 
November 1st. An account of this great revival we shall 
allow the preacher to relate : 

1st. Because it is an interesting story; 

2nd. It illustrates the social and religious conditions 
existing in Texas at that time. 

3rd. It reveals a phase of Mr. Burleson's character, not 
generally known or understood. 

4th. It contains interesting scraps of Texas history. 

"I went to Brenham from Houston, ISTov. 1st, 1818, at 
the earnest request of many brethren to hold a meeting. The 
county site had been moved from old Mount Vernon to Bren- 
ham in 1844. There were no streets or public buildings, and 
the residences were all small, and many of them built of logs, 
or rough lumber. 

But as the county seat of one of the oldest and welthiest 
counties in the state, it had every prospect of becoming a cen- 
ter of great influence. 

The Episcopalians with their usual worldly wisdom, saw 
the future prospect of Brenham, and sent one of their greatest 
missionaries, Rev. Mr. Pearse, who was afterward made a 
Bishop, to plant their standard in that place. 

Mr. Pearse was once a Baptist, a graduate of Brown Uni- 
versity, and bore the stamp of Dr. Wayland's great logical 
mind. He was a fine organizer, and his social character most 
excellent. He had received a pledge from Trinity church, 
ISTew York, of two thousand dollars, for an Episcopal church 
building in Brenham, conditioned on the fact that the citizens 
would subscribe two thousand more. 

The public spirited citizens of Brenham were anxious to 
have a fine church building in the town, subscribed the two 
thousand dollars, and when I reached Brenham the foundation 
of the edifice was already laid in stone. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 85 

Rev. Pearse, the far seeing Rector had already organized 
the whole town into a Parish and Vestrymen and Wardens 
had been chosen. 

Rev. A. A. Rueher, a preacher of the Disciples, a man of 
fine family and fine education, had already joined the Episco- 
pal church, and it seemed very evident, that the county seat 
of the fine old County of Washington was to become the 
stronghold of Episcopacy, though more than one-half the 
people were descendants of good Baptist stock. 

The Baptists of the county were very sad, but saw no 
remedy. Before going to Brenham I made appointments 
to preach at three country churches nearest the town; all 
these I filled, and secured their solemn promise to pray for me 
daily, in my great struggle. Very few Baptist sermons had 
been preached in the town up to this time, and I learned 
several who had joined the Episcopal church were not satis- 
fied with the step they had taken, and especially the wife of a 
leading merchant who was also a church warden. She was 
greatly troubled on the subject of baptism, and was anxious 
to talk with some Baptist minister, before being confirmed in 
the Episcopal church. 

I prayed earnestly to God to open the way for me to meet 
this lady. 

My first appointment was for 3 :30 Sunday evening in a 
small school house. After preaching at Mount Gilead eight 
miles west of Brenham, I hurried on to my appointment. 
My heart was sorely grieved on reaching the place, to find a 
great crowd gathered on the prairie near by, to run Sunday 
evening pony races. I asked of the first man I met, if there 
was not an appointment for preaching in town at that hour. 
He answered, "Oh, no, we do not have preaching except Parish 
preaching at 1 1 o'clock, the balance of our Sundays we devote 
to fun and frolic." But, he continued, the preaching place 
is at Giddings School house in the northern part of town on 
Independence road." 

I was still more grieved and disappointed on reaching the 
school house, to find only one man present, owing to some 
misunderstanding as to the time. He looked at me, I looked 
at him, and we looked at each other. I felt ashamed, for a 

86 The Life and Writings of 

big Houston preacher to come all the way to the county seat 
of the great County of Washington, and have a congregation 
of only one hearer, but remembering that our Saviour began a 
glorious work by preaching to one woman at the well, I drew 
near to my congregation and pleasantly said: "My friend 
you may not be aware of the fact that I am the preacher, but 
I am well aware of the fact that you are the congregation. 
As there should always be a good understanding between the 
preacher and the congregation, I will inform you that I am 
the preacher, and if the congregation wishes to hear preaching, 
I am ready to begin. The only thing necessary to do, is to 
change my text a little and preach from this, "Thou art the 

The congregation first smiled, then turned red, then pale, 
and said, 'Parson, I never did have a whole sermon preached 
at me, and know that it meant me and no one else, and if 
you had just as soon, I would like to put it off until night, and 
I will get some of the boys to come in and divide the responsi- 
bility with me.' I said, my friend, a bird in the hand is worth 
two in the bush, and one hearer in the church is worth forty 
charging around on the prairie, running pony races on Sun- 
day.' But he replied, 'if you will put it off until night, and 
preach in the board shanty, I will make them all come in.' 

I said all right, and with this understanding, we ad- 
journed without a formal benediction. I went to the Mcln- 
tyre hotel, and my congregation went out to stir up the boys, 
telling everybody there would be preaching by a big Houston 
preacher, in the house where Judge Baylor held court. He 
went especially to the saloons, where the crowd had congre- 
gated after the pony races were over, and said, 'Boys, boys, 
old Ed. Burleson, the great Indian and Mexican fighter has a 
cousin here, a Baptist preacher. He looks like he might fight 
the devil just like old Ed. fought Indians and Mexicans. He 
is six feet two inches tall, hair as black as a raven and has 
eyes like an eagle. He had an appointment at the school 
house at 3 :30 this evening, you fellows all went to the races 
but myself, and I was the only person present, and he wanted 
to preach to me from the text, 'Thou art the man.' Why, 
it would have frightened me to death, to sit there all alone, 

Dr. Eufus C. Burleson. 87 

so I got him to put it off until tonight. Now I will be very 
much obliged, if you all will go out to hear him, for I prom- 
ised the preacher you would come, or else I would have got 
the whole sermon this evening.' 

'Oh, yes, of course, we will all go out, just for your sake, 
and because he is kin to old Ed. Burleson.' They did come in 
great numbers, the house was crowded, and I have never 
preached to a more attentive audience before or since. In 
the depths of my soul I felt that God was with me, and that 
glory would follow. After the service was over, the congre- 
gation slowly and silently retired. Large numbers of them 

assembled at Mr. P saloon, their social headquarters, 

and discussed the situation. They said it was mighty good 
preaching, drank to my health, General Ed. Burleson's health, 
and then to their own health; and I was told, that many 
of them not only got healthy, but wealthy and happy also. 
They said I should never come to Brenham again and start a 
meeting with a congregation of one, that they would all turn 
out, to hear me every time I preached. 

I spent Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in prayer, 
study, and visiting such families and persons as I hoped would 
be benefited, and in preaching to vast crowds at night, for the 
whole town and surrounding country was thoroughly aroused. 
On Wednesday night the service was unusually good, and the 
entire congregation was moved. Afterwards as usual, the 
boys assembled at Mr. P.'s saloon, and talked over the incidents 
of the night. One of them said : 'See here, boys, how long 
is this thing going to last? I can not stand it much longer. 
Last night I dreamed the old devil came after me with a red 
hot chain and a pair of tongs, and was about to drag me right 
down to hell.' 

Another remarked : 'I am getting awful tired, for I 
do believe some of you fellows have told him all about my 
meanness, for in every sermon he says something that fits my 
case precisely.' 

Another remarked : 'I am getting enough myself, for 
I can not sleep at night, he makes me think so much of my 
mother and her prayers, and the promises I made her when I 
came to Texas, and how shamefully I have broken those vows.' 

HS The Life and "Writings of 

Another said : Tm getting enough of this meeting my- 
self, and wish he would quit, and but for the looks of the 
thing, I would propose to run him off.' 

'That would never do,' one said, 'it would give us and the 
town a bad name, but I tell you what we can do. You heard 
him say he never swore nor smoked, and did things like that, 
we can smoke him out of the church, and he will be sure to 
leave town.' 

Thev had all smoked rabbits out of hollow trees, when 
they were boys, and agreed that they could smoke a Baptist 
preacher out of his pulpit just as successfully. I never could 
tolerate the fumes of tobacco, and was about the easiest victim 
of an assault of this kind, they could have selected. 

"Well, they decided to try it, all filled their pockets full 
of cigars, fired up and came to church. Some of them came 
in, and sat with the congregation. Others stood in the doors 
and filled the windows, but all smoking like a tar kiln. It 
was no unusual thing to see men smoking at public gatherings, 
in those early days in Texas. 

Soon the house was full of smoke, and I began to grow 
a little faint, but I understood what they were up to, and 
determined to speak on if it killed me. I never saw so many 
people smoking at once. It looked to me, as if every man in 
the house, had two cigars in his mouth instead of one. I made 
it a point in my sermon to talk a good deal about sulphur, 
fire and brimstone, and drew an awful picture of the doom 
that awaited the wicked in a gulf of fire and smoke, where 
Dives was then calling for one drop of water, to cool his 
parched tongue. They smoked me, and I smoked them. My 
fire and brimstone was eternal and outlasted theirs. Very 
soon their cigars went out, the house became clear of smoke, 
I recovered from my spell of faintness and preached on. 

After the benediction, they assembled at the saloon, and 
one of them said: 'Boys, he has beat us at our own game, 
we can smoke rabbits out of hollows, but we can not smoke 
Baptist preachers out of their pulpits. We have all acted 
shamefully tonight, and now let us do as we promised, go to 
hear Parson Burleson every time he preaches, and behave 
ourselves like gentlemen.' 

Dr. Rufus C. Bukleson. 89 

Many in this crowd whom I outsmoked, were converted 
during the meeting, joined the church, and spent lives of 
Christian usefulness. 

The meeting continued with increasing interest until Sun- 
day night, when that grand lawyer and Baptist preacher, 
Judge R. E. B. Baylor came to open district court the next 
morning. After my sermon he arose and made a powerful 
and touching appeal, that moved the vast congregation to 

'Our young brother,' he said, 'who has been preaching to 
you so earnestly, privately and publicly, for two weeks will 
leave in the morning for his home in Houston. The yellow 
fever is raging in that city, and this may be our young broth- 
er's last sermon to you. He has seemed to preach to you 
tonight as a dying man, to dying men. He has proclaimed 
the truth, not perhaps as you would like to hear it, but as he 
is commanded by the book of eternal truth. These truths you 
must accept, if you ever secure the favor of your Heavenly 
Father, regardless of any preconceived opinions you may en- 
tertain on the plan of salvation. God saves people in the 
wilds of Texas, just as He saves them everywhere, and only 
as He saves them everywhere, by grace, through faith in 
Christ. May his burning words sink deep into your hearts.' 

On the 20th day of December, 1846, two years before, a 
church had been organized by Judge Baylor, four miles north 
of Brenham, and christened New Years Creek Baptist Church. 
A few of the members lived at Brenham, but no organization 
had been effected. 

As a result of this meeting, the Baptists became quite 
strong around Brenham, and on the 25th of November, 1851, 
the New Years Creek Church passed the following resolution : 

"Whereas, In the gracious providence of God, it has 
become necessary to afford church privileges to the citizens of 
Brenham, and its vicinity, and as it is deemed inexpedient at 
present to organize a regular church there; 

Resolved, That Brethren Elliott Allcorn, J. C. Mundine, 
G. W. Buchanan, and James Stockton, together with any 
other members of this church, that may attend the meetings 
in that place, be, and they are hereby authorized, to sit in 

90 The Life and Writings of 

conference and receive members into full fellowship of this 
church, and report said members to our conference meetings, 
from time to time immediately after their reception. This 
the parent church designated as "an arm." 

One week afterward, on the 1st of December, 1851, the 
arm at Brenham held its first conference meeting. R. C. Bur- 
leson was present, and presided, preached the first sermon to 
the "arm," placed the resolution passed by New Years Creek 
Church, into enforcement, saw the fruits of the meeting held 
in 1848, three years before, gathered into an organization the 
nucleus formed, and the foundation laid for the first Baptist 
church of Brenham, which became one of the leading churches 
in the state. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 91 


Me. Burleson's Estimate of the Pastorate Authority 
of the Church All Legislation, Canon, Creed or 
Decree not Authorized by the Word of God Rejected 
Opposition to a Union of Church and State 
Indefinitely Called to Houston Pastorate Dr. A. 
J. Gordon Diversity of Ministerial Gifts Mr. Bur- 
leson Stricken with Yellow Fever, Cholera 
Called to Pastorate at Huntsville, Ala. Declines 
Visits Independence Dr. H. L. Graves Resigns 
Presidency of Baylor University Mr. Burleson 
Elected to Succeed Him Sees Larger Opportunities 
for Usefulness and Accepts Resign at Houston 
Resolutions of the Church. 


h EW ministers ever lived who entertained a more 
exalted opinion of the Church of Jesus Christ, and 
had a clearer conception of the authority and calling 
of the pastor than R. C. Burleson. He imbibed much of the 
sentiment, and held to many of the opinions on this subject, 
of Dr. E. G. Robinson, his renowned preceptor, Professor of 
Biblical Interpretation in the Western Baptist Theological 
Seminary at Covington. 

He believed "the inspired Scriptures contained the 
supreme authority of Jesus Christ in all that relates to Chris- 
tian faith and practice, whether in ordinance, doctrine, a holy 
life, or the administration of church government. "These 

02 The Life and Writings of 

alone must be followed. All legislation, canon, creed or decree, 
springing from tradition, ecclesiastical authority, or usage of 
antiquity, not enjoined in the Scriptures, is to be resisted and 
rejected, from whatever source it may come, either inside the 
local church, or outside, as intolerable in the faith and prac- 
tice of the churches. 

That a Christian church must be made up of persons who 
are morally regenerated ; and that it is not a simple voluntary 
association, but a body of people called out of the world around 
them, by Christ's special authority, to be a people peculiar to 
himself. That the regeneration of each person in the church,, 
must be wrought by the Holy Spirit, he must be baptized on his. 
own choice and covenant to maintain the gospel in its purity. 

That the object of a Gospel church is to promote mutual 
growth in Truth, Purity and Love, the advancement of 
Christ's cause on earth, the salvation of the Christless. 

That Baptism and the Lord's Supper, after the apostolic 
appointment, both as it regards their relation to themselves 
as ordinances, and to other great Gospel teachings, should be 
practiced solely as God's Truth enjoins. Water can never 
wash away the stain of sin, and the Supper should only be 
celebrated when the local church is met in one place as a 

He earnestly opposed all connection of a Baptist Church 
with the government, and resisted all discriminations and dis- 
tinctions made by the State to the citizens on religious grounds. 
Baptists protest that civil governments have nothing what- 
ever to do with the control of religious organizations, but to> 
give unrestricted liberty to the citizens to "worship God 
according to the dictates of their conscience, under their own 
vine and fig tree, where none dare molest or make them afraid/ 
That God never designed that his creatures should worship 
Him by law, or according to law, but to "render unto Ca?sar 
the things that were Caesar's, and unto God the things that 
were God's." Mr. Burleson insisted that this had been the 
contention of Baptists from the birth of Christ, along all suc- 
ceeding ages and times, and any other position held by a Bap- 
tist was nothing more and nothing less than heresy pure, 
simple and unmixed. For the doctrines of soul Liberty, civil 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 93 

and religious freedom, they have suffered pain and penalty 
in every form, even to martyrdom, in a thousand horrible 

He believed, also, that not only individual Christians 
should witness for Christ, but that church members, in this 
organic capacity, should dwell, and live in such beautiful 
Christian harmony and fellowship that it would be the most 
effective of all witnessing, a light set upon a hill. 

Mr. Burleson believed, with that prince of modern pul- 
pits, Dr. A. J. Gordon, of Boston, that "there is one calling 
which deserves the name of the "High calling in Christ Jesus,'* 
namely, the preacher of the Gospel. 

First, because it is a ministry of the Lord Jesus, of whom 
he is a disciple and embassador. 

Second, it is a ministry of the Gospel of the Grace of 
God, of which he is the Herald and witness. 

Third, it is a ministry of the Kingdom of God, in which 
he is a subject and representative. 

Fourth, it is a ministry of the Church of God, in which 
he is the servant and shepherd. 

Fifth, it is a ministry of the Holy Ghost, of whom he is 
an example, and overseer or bishop." 

He also believed with that great Southern preacher and 
scholar, Dr. R. B. C. Howell, his pastor while in Nashville 
University, in the authority and office of Deacon. 

"They are the depositories of all the common property 
and funds of the church; to supply the necessities of the desti- 
tute and suffering. 

"They frequently receive contributions, and disburse 
the same at discretion. The whole church and congregation 
must, therefore, have, in their incorruptible integrity, the 
most abiding confidence. They must be of honest report." 

"They may be strict in their morals, spiritual iii feeling, 
kind, courteous and sincere in Christian intercourse, regular 
and punctual in the performance of all duties, and their 
hearts deeply imbued with a love of Christ. But even all this 
is not enough if not accompanied by orthodoxy in their Chris- 
tian doctrine; they must hold to the mystery of faith." 

94 The Life and Writings of 

"Deacons will be called on to instruct the erring and 
weak, to confirm the strong and establish the wavering. They 
must, therefore, not be unsteady or wavering in their tenets, 
disposed for any reason to compromise truth, nor, on the 
other hand, dogmatical and overbearing in its defense, but 
gentle, firm and decided." 

Mr. Burleson believed also and taught the democracy of 
the congregation. When they come together and reached 
conclusions, after a prayerful deliberation, that the voice of 
the church was supreme, when not contravened by the word 
of God. 

He thought, furthermore, that where there was earnest, 
prayerful co-operation by the pastor, deacons and congrega- 
tion, that a mighty spiritual force was there formed, which 
would impress the most callous community for good, and press 
on with resistless might, though all the powers of darkness 
should oppose. 

"Divine Truth, in fact, all truth," he said, "might be 
temporarily overshadowed, and seemingly crushed, but it 
would rise from the ashes of the most despairing situation, 
just as John Bunyan emerged from Bedford jail, to illuminate 
the darkest recesses of earth." 

Not only did Mr. Burleson entertain this view as to the 
Divine authority of the church, the high calling of the min- 
ister and the office of Deacon, but preaching with him was a 
passion, from the time he felt called to proclaim the truth, 
until he was settled in the Houston pastorate. 

While a student in Nashville Universtiy, he filled regu- 
lar appointments in the suburbs of the city of Nashville and 
surrounding country. 

At Covington, while attending the Theological Seminary, 
he had regular preaching stations, and notwithstanding his 
arduous school duties, he never failed to fill his appointments 
Saturday and Sunday. Newport was one of the stations sup- 
plied, to which he transferred his membership in 1847. He 
continued this kind of missionary work after coming to Texas, 
and preached in private houses and communities, as the leisure 
could be found, within a radius of sixty miles around his- 
place of residence. 

Dk. Rufus C. Burleson. 95 

In Houston he found the church composed of very 
strong, but incongruous elements. These were, however, 
brought into beautiful harmony, and his work was pleasant 
to himself, and acceptable without exception, to the members 
of the church and congregation. Which is shown by the fol- 
lowing facts taken from the old record : 

On January 3d, 1849, four days before the close of the 
first year's work, he was unanimously recalled to the pasto- 
rate, for as long as it was agreeable to him to serve the church 
in that capacity. At the same conference a resolution was 
passed expressing thanks to the Board of Missions of the 
Southern Baptist Convention, for sending him to Houston; 
and a committee, composed of Nelson Cavanaugh and R. S. 
Blount, appointed to transmit this resolution to the Board at 
Marion, Alabama; and with instructions to accompany the let- 
ter with a check for $25.00, as a contribution from the church 
to its missionary enterprises. 

April 25th, 1850, a resolution was passed reciting per- 
fect and entire satisfaction with his work, and expressing the 
hope that he would continue in the pastorate. His salary was 
increased, and always promptly paid on the first of every 

He had loving access to the home of every member of the 
church and congregation, and to the homes and hearts also of 
hundreds of families not Baptists. 

Almost every day he received testimonals, sometimes 
verbal, and sometimes in the form of affectionate letters, 
expressing high appreciation of himself as a man and minister, 
and containing assurances of warmest personal regard. 

Notwithstanding his belief in the divine institution of 
the church, authority of the pastor, the office of deacon, his 
love for proclaiming The Truth, his pleasant environments 
and congenial situation, Mr. Burleson was not satisfied; he 
longed for a broader, wider field of operations, and larger 
opportunites of Christian work and usefulness. 

He had conducted two successful revivals during his 
nine months' residence in Texas, one in Galveston, and one in 
Brenham, both begun and continued under the most untoward 
circumstances, which impressed him that he possessed some 
fitness for this kind of religious work. 

96 The Life and Writings of 

On the 31st of August, 1850, he handed in his resigna- 
tion as pastor of the Houston Church. Its consideration was 
fixed for September 2d, at which time the church refused to 
accept it, and begged him to withdraw it, if a sense of duty 
would allow him to do so. He explained that the course he 
had pursued was from a sense of duty, as he felt he could do 
more good as an evangelist. 

The old record, which has been closely examined, does 
not mention that the resignation was withdrawn, but it is pre- 
sumed it was, for the reason that he continued to serve the 

As stated, he tendered his resignation not because he 
was tired of the pastorate, or this particular pastorate, nor 
because his love for preaching was diminished, but to enter 
the field of evangelism. 

He believed, with that immortal Georgia preacher, Dr. 
Jesse Mercer, that among the ministers of Jesus Christ there is 
a diversity of gifts. Some are sent, like Paul, for the defense 
of the Gospel, and the establishment of the saints in the faith ; 
others, like J ames, to excite professors to every good word and 
work; others, like Peter, to awaken sinners to the fearful 
consequences of "neglecting so great a salvation." He also 
believed, that thorough self-knowledge was essential to the 
success of every minister; that he must know his peculiar capa- 
bilities and gifts, and then study, not only how to apply them, 
but the situation and field in which they can be most success- 
fully employed. 

While serving as pastor of the church in Houston, the 
resolution formed on the day of his graduation, to consecrate 
his life to Texas, was subjected to a severe test, and in a great 
variety of ways. In the summer of 1848 he was prostrated 
with yellow fever, during the dreadful epidemic that prevailed 
in that year, and little hope was entertained of his recovery. 

In 1849, he fell helpless and insensible on the street, a 
victim of cholera. 

Was offered the pastorate of a wealthy church in Hunts- 
ville, Alabama, and was asked if he would entertain the offer 
of Secretary of the Southern Baptist Publication Society, a 
position to which he was subsequently elected. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 97 

All these scourges, misfortunes and tempting honors 
would have been enough, it seems to cause an ordinary man 
to forget his vow, and turn his back on a people with whom 
he had resolved to rise or fall. Not so with Mr. Burleson. 
When death stood grimly grinning over his prostrate, helpless 
form, when unsolicited honors were his to command, he 
repeated his resolution to consecrate his life to Texas, and 
added, in the language of the Apostle Paul, "None of these 
things move me." 

Since his advent into the State, Mr. Burleson had made 
it a point to attend the annual commencement exercises of 
Baylor University, at Independence, in which he had always 
felt a deep interest. , 

In June, 1851, he was present, as usual, encouraging the 
professors and stimulating the pupils. Dr. Henry L. Graves, 
who had been president of the institution since 1845, tendered 
his resignation at the close of the exercises of the week. The 
Trustees were called together at once, and elected Mr. Bur- 
leson to succeed him. He had in no way sought this distin- 
guished honor, but saw in it the larger opportunities for which 
he had longed. The Trustees appointed a committee to 
officiallv inform the members of the Houston Church, and 
request that their pastor be released from any contract or 
obligation under which he might be resting. 

The church was called together in special conference 
July 5th, 1851, and the communication from the Board of 
Trustees presented and read. Mr. Burleson tendered his 
resignation, which was accepted, whereupon ~W. W. McMahan 
offered the following preamble and resolutions : 

Whereas, The Rev. R. C. Burleson, pastor of this 
church, has been called to the high and responsible position 
of the presidency of Baylor University, situated at Indepen- 
dence, Texas, and having tendered his resignation as pastor, 
and intimated to us that he would accept the call; therefore, 
be it 

Resolved, That we feel it to be our duty to acquiesce in 
the choice our pastor has made. Though the sacrifice on our 
part be irreparable, yet it is our duty to yield without a mur- 

98 The Life and Writings of 

mur, to the loss, for the greater good which may flow to our 
beloved denomination. 

Resolved, Second, That we earnestly hope that he may 
prove himself to be a blessing to Baylor University, over 
which he is called to preside, and in the hands of Almighty 
God a blessing to the rising generation, is the prayer of this 

Resolved, Third, That our retiring pastor, R. C. Burleson, 
be invited to remain with us, preach and preside over our con- 
ference and business meetings, as moderator, until his duties 
shall call him to Independence." 

Mr. Burleson was much attached to this church and 
these people. He preached as many sermons during his long 
ministry as perhaps the average preacher, but this may be said 
to be his first and last pastorate. 

True, he served some churches in Mayhew Prairie, Mis- 
sissippi, in 1844-5, in an official capacity, but here his time 
was devoted to teaching, and preaching was the only capacity 
in which he served them. 

He was loth to leave this his first love, and only a sense of 
duty, impelled by a desire to do more for the people of the 
State he loved, than was offered in that position, led him to do 

Even then he was moved by the same holy emotion of the 
Savior, when taking leave of the apostles, "I will not leave 
you comfortless," "I will pray the Father and He shall give 
you another comforter." He recommended as a suitable man 
for that pulpit, Rev. Thomas J. Chilton, of Kentucky, an ex- 
member of congress, and a distinguished preacher. 

The church acted on Mr. Burleson's suggestion, and 
called Mr. Chilton to the pastorate. He accepted, and was 
formally installed as such December 6th, 1851. 

And thus ended the loving, tender relations between this 
popular preacher and pastor and these people, after covering 
three and one-half years, which was unruffled by a single 
inharmonious or discordant incident. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 99 


Wisdom of Texas Pioneer Baptists in Founding Educa- 
tional Institutions Union Association Organized 
Texas Baptist Education Society Formed Objects 
Delayed by the Mexican Invasion Baptist Univer- 
sity Projected Charter Issued bv the Republic of 
Texas Its Name Beautiful Story of Rev. Wm. M. 
Tryon and Judge R. E. B. Baylor Towns Competing 
for Location School Located at Independence 
Subscription List Dr. Henry L. Graves First Presi- 


HATEYER may be said in derogation of the foresight 
and good sense of Texas pioneer Baptists, inattention 
to the importance of educational matters cannot be 
charged against them. 

Since the patriots had made provisions most magnificent 
in proportions, in the Constitution of 1836, for a system of 
public education, which will be more fully noticed in a suc- 
ceeding chapter, they realized that steps must be taken with- 
the view of founding a great Baptist university, where the 
morals of their children would be cultivated as well as the 
minds, and their education not entire! v committed to the 
State. The subject had engaged the minds of Baptist min- 
isters and prominent laymen from the very incipiency of 
Texas Baptist missions; but the difficulties in the way of civil 
and religious restrictions, if not positive inhibitions, were 
insuperable, until the country achieved its independence, and 

100 The Life axd Wettings of 

-a government was organized guaranteeing to all the fullest 
religious liberty. 

Travis Baptist Church was organized by Judge R. E. B. 
Baylor in 1839, the Church at Independence by Rev. Thomas 
Spraggins in 1839, and the Church at La Grange by Rev. T. 
AY. Cox, in the same year. 

A call was issued for a convention, to be composed of 
delegates from all the churches in the State, for the purpose of 
organizing an association. Only the above named churches, 
with an aggregate membership of forty-five, responded to the 
-call. ' J. J. Davis, John McXeese and Thomas Trenmier were 
elected to represent the Independence Church. AT. H. Cleve- 
land, J. AY. Collins and James Hall represented the Church at 
Travis; R. E. B. Baylor, T. W. Cox, J. L. Davis and J. L. 
Lester the church at La Grange. 

These delegates assembled in Travis. Austin County, 
Thursday, October 8th, 1S40, and organized the Union Bap- 
tist Association, the first Baptist organization in the State, 
except a local church. T. W. Cox was made Moderator, 
J. AY. Collins, Secretary; R. E. B. Baylor, Corresponding 

Education in general, and a Baptist school of high 
grade in particular, were some of the subjects to be considered 
at this meeting, and it was expected that a plan for a univer- 
sity would be formulated. 

Owing, however, to the small attendance, it was deemed 
wise to postpone the question for future consideration. 

The second session of the association was held at La 
Grange, October 7th, 1841. A larger number of churches 
were represented in this meeting, with a largely increased con- 
stituency, and after an exhaustive discussion of the subject, 
in all its limits and bearings, "The Texas Baptist Education 
Society"" was organized, from which all Baptist educational 
institutions in the State have sprung, as will be hereafter seen. 

The members of this society were much enthused on the 
subject of education, and cherished the hope that they would 
be able to take immediate steps toward executing their 

De. Errus C. Burleson. 101 

The invasion of Texas bv a large force from Mexico 
under command of General Woll, in 1812, threw the country 
again into a state of war, the issues involved and the results 
of which completely absorbed public attention, and taxed the 
resources of the people to such an extent that all religious and 
educational enterprises were held in abeyance. 

Every man capable of bearing arms was in the Texas 
army, and determined to resist unto death the re-establish- 
ment of Mexican despotism, if this should be the price of per- 
petuating their liberties, secured through the struggles and 
sacrifices of a campaign of nearly twenty years. 

Owing to the disturbance thus created, only informal 
meetings of the Educational Society were held in 1811, 1812, 
1813 and 1811 at which little was accomplished, or even 
attempted, in the way of executing the great purpose for 
which it was formed. 

In October, 1845, the Society held its first regular ses- 
sion since its organization in 1811. The zeal of its promoters 
was unabated, however, and the work was taken up where it 
had been left off four years before. Judge R. E. B. Baylor 
was elected President; Wm. M. Tryon, Vice-President; B. B. 
Baxter, Recording Secretary; J. G. Thomas, Corresponding 
Secretary, and James L. Farquhar, Treasurer. A Board of 
Managers was created, composed of Hosea Garrett, 1ST. T. 
Byars, Richard Ellis, Stephen "Williams and Z. 1ST. Morrell. 

At this meeting it was resolved to found a Baptist Uni- 
versity in Texas, upon a plan so broad that the requirements 
of existing conditions would be fully met, and that would be 
susceptible of enlargement and development to meet the 
demand of all ages to come. 

Rev. William M. Trvon and Judge R. E. B. Bavlor were 
appointed a committee to prepare a charter for the institution, 
and secure its passage by the Congress of the Republic. 

We here digress to make a statement, and pause to recite 
an incident, which shows William M. Tryon and R. E. B. 
Baylor to be worthy of all the confidence ever reposed in them 
by the Baptists and the people of Texas generally. In this age 
of inordinate ambition, and in which a spirit of selfishness is 
injected into almost every transaction, public and private, the 

102 The Life axd Writings of 

incident will read like a romance, or a fabrication in order to 
unduly exalt a favorite character. 

The early Baptists had their disagreements and intellect- 
ual conflicts. Some of their business meetings were stormy 
and tempestuous. The leaders were intellectual giants, and 
their convictions matured with deliberation, and were, there- 
fore, very decided. They were contended for earnestly and 
courageously, but always on their merit, in a spirit of fairness, 
and with no thought of subserving a selfish end. Selfish con- 
siderations were subordinated to the general good. If a sacri- 
fice was to be made, every man begged that he be allowed to 
make it, and that some one else be selected, if a distinguished 
honor was to be conferred. There never lived on this earth 
a people who more beautifully exemplified the doctrine of the 
apostle, "in honor preferring one another." 

On one occasion, during a session of the trustees, there 
was a pressing necessity for $500. T. J. Jackson arose and 
subscribed the whole amount. This gave offense to every 
other member of the board. They said he was "greedy," and 
insisted on giving a part, or all of the amount, themselves. 

It frequently occurs in legislative and deliberative bodies, 
when the opportunity is offered to make some reputation, or 
to acquire some advantage, men are on their feet instantly, and 
there is a scramble for recognition from the presiding officer 
of the assembly. When, however, money for any purpose is 
needed, it matters little how laudable the object, nor how 
urgent and pressing the situation may be, men have to be fre- 
quently singled out and asked if they will not give. This is 
very justly called the high-pressure method of collecting. 

In the early days, when money was to be raised by the 
Trustees, there was a scramble for recognition from the Presi- 
dent, every member anxious to give his part, and even more, 
if the other members would permit him to be guilty of such a 
breach of early Texas ethics. These statements will be ques- 
tioned, perhaps, but they are from personal observation, made 
as a little boy, when I followed my venerated father to the 
meetings of the Board of Trustees of Baylor University. 

Judge Baylor was an eminent lawyer, well known to 
politicians and officials of the Republic, and the preparation of 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 103 

the charter came strictly within the scope of his profession, 
and it seems that this feature of the committee's duty would 
have devolved very naturally on him. But not so. Rev. 
William M. Tryon wrote the instrument thus demonstrating 
the versatility of his talent, leaving the blank for the insertion 
of the name. The document was submitted to Judge Baylor 
for revision and amendments. After considering it with 
much care, he approved the instrument as originally drafted, 
and suggested that the blank left for the name be filled with 
"Tryon University." 

Just here is to be recorded one of the sublimest acts of 
unselfishness to be found in the annals of Texas history. Both 
Judge Baylor and Mr. Tryon were men of great wisdom, and 
gifted with uncommon foresight. Representing the Baptists 
of Texas, they were reasonably well assured that they were 
building an institution that would, perhaps, stand to bless and 
benefit mankind through all the unfolding vears of time, and 
that undying renown would be the heritage of the man whose 
name was placed in that blank. 

"If glory was a bait that angels swallowed, 
How then should souls allied to sense resist it." 

These patriot fathers must have been closely related to 
the gods. A contest arose between them, not for position, 
advantage or wealth, but to avoid those allurements of honor, 
so fascinating to ordinary mortals, and confer them on 

Mr. Tryon proposed that the institution be christened 
"Baylor." Judge Baylor objected, and suggested "Tryon." 
Mr. Tryon did not consent to this suggestion, stating that he 
had been actively advocating the establishment of the school 
for years, and if it were named in his honor, some might think 
his efforts had been in behalf of his own glory. 

Judge Baylor remarked that he had been in politics in 
both Kentucky and Texas, and, as is always the case, political 
prejudices had been engendered, which might seriously retard 
the enterprise in its incipiency. 

This controversy, involving only the avoidance of honor, 
was prolonged and remained unsettled, so Judge Baylor after- 

1U4 The Life and "Writings of 

wards stated, until some other members of the Education 
Society were called in, who instructed the committee to insert 
the name of "Bavlor University" in the blank. Xot that 
Judge Baylor was held in higher esteem by the members of 
the society and friends of the institution than Mr. Tryon, but 
for the reason that the unanimous verdict of the denomination 
was, that this honor was justly due one of these enterprising, 
self-denying and consecrated brethren, and only one could be 
the recipient of this compliment at their hands. 

There are few incidents in history more truthfully con- 
finning the beautiful apothegm of Mathew Pryor, "and vir- 
tue is her own reward." For while the institution bears the 
honored name of Baylor, yet the entire absence of the self- 
seeking spirit on the part of William M Tryon on that his- 
tory making occasion, inseparably connects his name with that 
of Baylor. And he will receive like honor through all the 
ceaseless ages to come. 

The charter was applied for, and issued by the Republic 
of Texas, February 1st, 1845. Among the wise and liberal 
provisions of the charter, the following Board of Trustees 
were named : R. E. B. Baylor, J. G. Thomas, A. G. Haynes, 
Hosea Garrett, A. C. Horton, J. L. Lester, R. B. Jorman, 
James Huckings, kelson Kavanaugh, O. Drake, Eli fiercer, 
Aaron Shannon, J. L. Farquhar, R. S. Armstead, "William M. 
Tryon, and E. W. Taylor. 

It provided for a preparatory department to the univer- 
sity; also a female department, and such other features of an 
institution of its grade as the Trustees in their judgment might 

The presiding officer of the school was styled President, 
other members of the faculty Professors, and the head of the 
female department, Principal. 

The first meeting of the Trustees was called to be held 
at Independence, May 7th, 1845. The charter provided that 
a quorum must consist of a majority of the board. At this 
meeting there was not a quorum present, and the board 
adjourned to meet at Brenham, May 15th. 

The board was temporarily organized at this meeting. 
Maj. Albert G. Haynes moved that Judge R. E. B. Baylor be 

Dr. Ruftts C. Burleson. 105 

elected President. This motion prevailed, and Maj. Haynes 
went down in history as having made the first motion ever 
entertained by that noble body. 

A committee was appointed to draft by-laws, modes of 
procedure and rules of order for its government. At 7 o'clock 
p. m. the board reconvened. Judge Baylor being absent, H. 
Garrett was elected President pro tern. 

The subject of a location for the school was discussed, 
and a motion made to decide that question at that time. This 
motion was defeated, for the reason that the places that would 
become candidates for the location were not apprised that the 
question would be settled at that time. 

The board adjourned to meet at Mount Gilead, October 
the 13th, and public notice given that the question of locating 
the school would be determined at that time. 

This meeting was held pursuant to adjournment, and 
proposals for location received. Travis, Huntsville, Shan- 
non's Prairie and Independence entered the contest and filed 
their bids. 

Aaron Shannon, R. G. Jarman, J. G. Thomas and kelson 
Kavanaugh were appointd on a committee to examine the 
propositions of these towns, and report to the board the result 
of their labor. At the afternoon session this committee 
reported as follows: 

"Your committee, having carefully examined the pro- 
posals as presented, and having fixed the valuation of all uncul- 
tivated lands, except town lots, at seventy-five cents per acre, 
and the town property at what such property might sell for in 
cash, find the aggregate result as follows : 

The subscription from Travis, $3,586.25; Huntsville, 
$5,417.75; Grimes' Prairie, $4,725.00; Independence, $7,- 
925.00; all of which is respectfully submitted. 

Money was exceedingly scarce in Texas during these 
early days, and not only were private business transactions 
largely conducted by barter, but subscriptions to public enter- 
prises were often made in kind; the donor giving such things 
as would serve a practical purpose. As will be seen by the 
report of the committee appointed to examine the bids of the 
towns competing for the location of the proposed school, this 

106 The Life and Writings of 

was the case in this instance. A very small part of the bids 
were in cash. 

To illustrate this point, a subscription of one of the towns 
that had entered the race for the location is here appended, 
which will be read with interest : 

One Section" of Land. 

One Yoke of Oxen. 

Five Head of Cattle. 

One Cow and Calf. 

One Bay Mare. 

One Bale of Cotton. 

Twenty Days' Hauling. 

Cash, $200. 

Independence at that time was quite a center of wealth 
and refinement, and something also of an educational center. 
The natural beauty and healthfulness of the place was unsur- 
passed. These considerations, coupled with the fact that the 
financial offer was almost twice as large as any other place, 
induced the Trustees to fix the seat of the university in that 
charming and erstwhile glorious Aallage. 

The question of location having been disposed of, the 
Board proceeded to organize permanently, a pro tern organi- 
zation only, having been all that had been effected up to this 
time. Rev. William M. Tryon was elected president, E. W. 
Taylor, secretary, and A. G. Haynes, treasurer. 

The Board held its third session in December, 1845, and 
after considering the question of a domicile for the school, 
concluded it would be unwise to undertake to erect a building, 
owing to the financial stringency of the times, and that a two- 
story frame building which was included in the Independence 
subscription, could be used for the opening. A committee was 
appointed to take up the matter of a more suitable and com- 
modious structure, as soon as the business conditions of the 
country were improved. 

Rev. Henry L. Graves was elected first president of Bay- 
lor University, and Henry F. Gillette principal of the prepa- 
ratory department. 

Dr. Graves was born in Yanceyville, North Carolina, 
February 2 2d, 1813. He was a graduate of the University of 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 107 

Xorth Carolina, and filled the chair of Mathematics in Wake 
Forest College. In 1838 he moved to Georgia and took charge 
of a school at Cave Springs. In 1841 he took a course in 
Hamilton Theological Seminary, New York. 

Returning to Georgia in 1843, he taught a classical school 
in Covington, until 1846; when he was elected as above stated, 
to the presidency of Baylor University. He departed from 
Covington for Texas immediately, and arrived in Galveston 
December 4th, 1846. Dr. Graves possessed those qualifica- 
tions and advantages that fitted him for the position to which 
lie had been elected. He enjoyed both literary and theological 
training, and graduated in both departments. Dr. Graves 
was not only the first president of Baylor University, but was 
also the first president of the Baptist State Convention, or- 
ganized in 1848. He died December 4, 1881, in Brenham, 

Henry F. Gillette, the first principal of the preparatory 
department was quite a celebrated early Texas educator, hav- 
ing taught near Washington-on-the-Brazos for several years. 
In 1844 he moved to Independence and founded Indepen- 
dence Academy, the best known, and most successfully con- 
ducted school in the state. 

Mr. Gillette was born in Granbury, Connecticut, July 16, 
1815, and came to Texas in 1831, when a mere lad only 16 
years old. He was a graduate of Trinity College, Hartford, 
and educated for the Episcopal ministry. His health was 
greatly impaired by close application, and sedantary habits, 
lie dismissed this purpose from his mind. 

A more useful character never lived in Texas. After 
letiring from the school room at Independence, he settled on 
an estate on Galveston bay, and in 1866 founded Bayland 
Orphans home, which blessed Texas for nine years under his 
wise and parental management. 

Mr. Gillette was a warm and trusted personal friend of 
General Houston and President Anson Jones, both of whom, 
during their administrations offered him any position he might 
prefer, but he declined all political preferment, and chose the 
more unostentatious duties of life. He promoted all educa- 
tional enterprises projected in his day, and in this direction 

108 The Life and Writings of 

devoted his energies and fine ability. He died in 1896, full of 
honors, at the ripe age of 81. 

On his retirement from active participation in the affairs 
of the school, the trustees to testify their high appreciation of 
the service rendered, adopted the following resolutions : 

"Resolved, By the Board of Trustees of Baylor Univer- 
sity in regular session assembled, that our thanks are justly 
due, and are hereby cheerfully tendered to Prof. Henry F. 
Gillette, for his wise and faithful service to our cherished in- 
stitution during its infancy. 

Resolved, Second, That whatever measure of success it 
may have attained is to be credited to his learning, judgment 
and tact as a teacher, and that the best wishes of this Board for 
his success will follow him in every good work he may here- 
after undertake." 

The school was opened on the 18th of May, 1846, with 
24 pupils. Prof. Gillette had entire charge, and was the only 
teacher until October of that year, at which time the Trustees 
employed an assistant. 

On the 4th of February, 1847, Henry L. Graves the 
president, arrived at Independence, and assumed the responsi- 
bilities of his office. 

Up to this time, the trustees had reserved the right to have 
a voice in disciplinary and internal management of the school,, 
but at a meeting held June 1st, 1848, this authority was: 
abrogated, and the sole government and management was 
offered the president for two years. He to select his own as- 
sistants, receive all tuition fees, and become responsible for 
the salaries. President Graves acceded to the proposition. 

The attendance increased, though by no means as rapidly 
as was expected. Agents were employed to solicit subscrip- 
tions of money or material, and in 1849 a two-story stone 
building 40x50 feet, was commenced and completed the fol- 
lowing year. 

Permanent scholarships were provided for, by the Trus- 
tees as a means of commending the school to public patronage 
and favor. The price of permanent scholarships was fixed at 
$500, family at $100, church scholarships at $200, individual 
at $100, charity scholarships at $50. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 109 

The trustees were convinced that the receipts from tuition 
fees were then inadequate, and would for some time, under the 
most favorable circumstances, be insufficient to support the 
faculty. A resolution was therefore passed, that a strong 
effort be made to raise an endowment fund of $10,000. The 
interest from this sum, would enable the board to compensate 
the president, and the tuition fees could be applied toward 
the payment of his assistants. Six agents were appointed, viz : 
H. L. Graves, J. W. D. Creath, J. H. Stribling, E. C. Burle- 
son, G. W. Baines, and J. H. Taliaferro. These agents were 
instructed to sell scholarships, while prosecuting the work of 
raising the endowment. 

The Board of Trustees was a noble, liberal, broad-gauged 
body of men, and from the beginning had sacrificed and strug- 
gled most willingly, for the success of the school. They had 
very little encouragement up to this time, but were now more 
hopeful, as faint glimpses were caught of the silver lining 
that every cloud is said to have. 

This hope was short lived however, and discouragements 
thickened. At the next meeting, held on the 13th of June, 
1851, Prsident Graves tendered his resignation. An effort 
was made to induce him to withdraw it, but he insisted on its 
acceptance, which was done, and a vote of thanks tendered 
him, for the aide manner in which he had presided over the 
institution from February 4th, 1847, to June 13th, 1851. 

110 The Life and "Writings of 


Baylor University Born in a Storm Santa Fe Expedi- 

a ]STew Country Unsettled Conditions Slow Pro- 
gress of all Schools Judge A. S. Lipscomb Per- 
sonal Popularity Nominates Mr. Burleson for 
President Providence Leading Mr. Burleson's 
First Ambition States Conditions of His Accept- 
ance State Convention Mass Meeting Confers 
with Other College Presidents Outlines His Pol- 
icy for Government of the School. 

3 AYLOK UNIVERSITY may be said to have been 
born in a storm, and lived in a storm up to the time 
Dr. Burleson was placed at the helm in 1851. The 
determination to establish it, was reached by the Texas Baptist 
Education Society in 1841, only five years after the close of 
the Revolution between Texas and Mexico in 1836, and before 
the excitement following that passionate period had fully sub- 
sided. During this time also, occurred the most serious con- 
flicts and collisions between the early settlers and Indian tribes. 
The Presidential election of that year was after a most stormy 
campaign which diverted the public mind from religious and 
educational affairs to politics, and was disquieting from every 
point of view. 

The sad fate of those who went on the Santa Ee Expedi- 
tion was still fresh in the minds of the people. The Somer- 
ville campaign, the battle of Mier and the Snively Expedition 
were distressing events in Texas history, of recent occurrence. 

The school was located in 1845, formally opened in 1846, 
while the heated and tumultuous campaign resulting in the 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. Ill 

annexation of Texas to the United States, was distracting the 
attention of the people. It had scarcely emerged from the 
feverish conditions engendered by this controversy, when war 
was declared between the United States and Mexico, March 
11th, 1846. 

During that sanguinary conflict, not only Baylor Univer- 
sity, but every other moral and educational enterprise strug- 
gled for bare existence. 

Added to all these untoward conditions, it will be remem- 
bered that Texas was a new country, very sparsely settled, and 


every interest, civil, religious, financial and commercial, was 
in an embryonic state. Nothing was established as in older 
states, not even the government itself. 

For these reasons, and owing to these unsettled condi- 
tions, the institution had not grown as rapidly, met the de- 
mands of the people as readily, nor fulfilled its mission in the 
world as quickly, as its wise and unselfish projectors had hoped. 

Judge Abner S. Lipscomb had just become a member of 
the Board of Trustees; he was not only one of the most emi- 

112 The Life and "Writings of 

nent lawyers in the state, but having held himself aloof from 
all the acrimonious political controversies of these times, was 
perhaps the most popular man in Texas. A brief notice of 
his life, is worthy of insertion in this record. Judge Lips- 
comb was born in South Carolina in 1789, and came to Texas 
in 1839, when he was 50 years old. He moved from South 
Carolina to Alabama in 1810 where he commenced the prac- 
tice of law after having studied under John C. Calhoun. He 
was district judge in 1819, and afterward from 1S23 to 1835, 
chief justice of the supreme -court of that state. He was 
appointed Secretary of State by President M. B. Lamar, after 
his arrival in Texas, and served during his administration, and 
later on elected an associate justice of that first famous 
supreme court of Texas, composed of K. T. Wheeler, John 
Hemphill and Abner S. Lipscomb. Their decisions and 
opinions are held in the very highest esteem by members of 
the legal profession, and their fame as lawyers has crossed 
state lines, and like their opinions has become the common 
property of the people. of the United States. And even more, 
their opinions are quoted by English Barristers, as embodying 
the highest legal expressions upon all questions decided. 

It was most fortunate therefore that Judge Lipscomb 
was a member of the Board at this crisis in the history of the 
institution, and most fortunate also, that when the Board met 
June 13th, 1851, to elect Dr. Graves' successor, that Judge 
Lipscomb placed the name of Dr. Rufus C. Burleson in nomi- 
nation for the presidency of Baylor University. This fact 
alone, not only gave Mr. Burleson, who was now only 27 
years old, prestige, but was an endorsement of the school, 
which coming from a man of Judge Lipscomb's fame and 
popularity, was re-assuring to the Trustees and friends of the 
institution, who had labored so assiduously for its success, and 
inspired a degree of confidence in the minds of the people of 
Texas, that commendatory words from no other man in the 
state would have done. 

Mr. Burleson's election being without dissent or opposi- 
tion, he appeared before the Board, and signified his accept- 
ance of the high trust and grave responsibility. 

Here is the culmination of a story that those familiar 
with the circumstances, must clearly see is the direction of 

Dr. Rufus C. Bukleson. 113 

Providence, and in which Mr. Burleson is the leading human 
character. As already noticed, Mr. Burleson's first ambition 
and intention was to study law, and strive to become not only 
a great jurist, but a great statesman, and with this in view, 
a course of study was accordingly arranged. After his con- 
version however in 1839, he felt impressed to preach the 
Gospel, abandoned his original intention, and changed his 
course of study. 

While a student in Nashville University in 1840, his 
health became greatly impaired, and he was carried home to 
die. When, however, contrary to expectations, he regained his 
health, he wanted to return to Nashville University, but his 
father protested, thinking his health would again fail under 
the pressure of close application, and confinement. As a 
compromise measure he engaged to teach in Mississippi, from 
1840 to 1845. This experience, when his tastes and predilec- 
tions were in a formative state, cultivated and developed that 
disposition to instruct, which afterward became in him, an 
overwhelming, consuming desire. And while he never enter- 
tained any thought of abandoning the ministry, he decided that 
education should be the leading feature in the work of his life. 

If his father had allowed him to re-enter the university 
at Nashville, he would never have taught, and but for this 
experience in the school room, love for the work would not 
have been acquired; but for this love for the work, he never 
would have become president of Baylor University. All this 
was in answer to his prayers, offered to Almighty God (during 
numerous seasons of fasting) to lead and direct him into fields 
of labor, in which God's name might be glorified, and his life 
most usefully spent. 

In answer to prayer, God placed His hand on Rufus C. 
Burleson in the Piney woods of Fulton county, Mississippi, 
in 1841; led him back to north Alabama in 1845; to Coving- 
ton, Kentucky, in 1846; to Texas in 1848; preserved his life 
in 1849 when he was stricken down with a malignant malady; 
led him to Independence in 1851, and placed him where he 
would not be overlooked, when his head and hand were needed 
to direct the affairs of Bavlor University, an infant Texas insti- 




The Life and Whitings of 

Dr. Burleson had attended everv annual commencement 

of the school, from the year of his arrival, and was familiar 
with the plans of its government and control. He had also 
studied as he would a text-book, the laws by which Brown, 
Madison, and other successful universities were controlled, and 
saw at a glance, some of the obstacles in the way of the har- 
monious and successful management of Baylor. The Trustees 
had reserved some rights in disciplinary, and other matters 
which did not come properly within the scope of their author- 
ity, and in order that this school might be placed on the high 
plane of other great institutions, and that clashes and con- 


The Building in which De. Burleson opened the Male Department of Baylor 

University, September 1st, 1851. 

flirts between faculty and trustees might be avoided, to the 
greatest extent possible, he offered certain conditions of his 
acceptance of the Presidency to the Board of Trustees. 

First. That all disciplinary, and internal matters of the 
school be arranged and settled by the Faculty, and all external 
and business affairs be managed by the Trustees. 

S cond. That the university should never go in debt, 
and that a model should be agreed on for buildings, which 
could be carried out and completed part at a time, and yet form 
one harmonious whole when completed. 

Third. That an endowment of ten thousand dollar- 

Dr. Eufus C. Bublesox. 115 

should be raised at once and placed at interest, and that this 
amount be increased to fifty thousand dollars, at the rate of ten 
thousand dollars every five years, and that the Trustees pro- 
vide adequate buildings as they were needed. 

Fourth. That the male and female pupils were to be 
separated, and the two departments to be conducted separately. 

Fifth. That as president of the school, he was not to be 
required to give up preaching the gospel, at such times and in 
such places as would not interfere or conflict with any official 

The Board of Trustees after consultation, accepted all 
these conditions, as reasonable and wise, and on the 13th day 
of June, 1851, Dr. Burleson's official connection with Baylor 
University commenced. 

The Baptist State Convention was then in session at In- 
dependence, and delegates representing many of the best 
churches in Texas were present. The Trustees decided that it 
was an opportune time to place some of its policies, especially 
that of raising an endowment fund, before the denomination. 
After advising with the officers and leaders of the convention, 
an agreement was reached that a groat mass meeting would be 
held in the interest of the institution, on the night of June the 
14th. Invitations were issued to the people of Washington 
county regardless of denominational connections, to attend. 
To the students of history it is again a pleasure to introduce 
Judge Abner S. Lipscomb, whose friendship was so valuable 
to the institution in its infancy and early struggles. Judge 
Lipscomb, Judge R. E. B. Baylor, and Bev. J. W. D. Creath, 
were appointed to address the meeting, lay the plans of the 
Board before the people, and make an appeal for subscrip- 
tions to the endowment fund. 

The good effects of this meeting were numerous. Presi- 
dent Burleson felt less like he was leading a forlorn hope, or 
climbing aboard a sinking ship. The Trustees became still 
more hopeful, and the friends at large, much more encouraged. 

As a result of the appeal made for subscriptions to the 
endowment fund, five thousand, three hundred and fifty dol- 
lars was raised in cash and pledges, the largest amount per- 
haps, that had ever been raised in Texas at one time, for edu- 
cation or any kindred purpose. 

116 The Life and Writings of 

In this age of large private fortunes, immense aggrega- 
tion of wealth, and the liberal donations to universities and 
all eleemosynary institutions, this amount may seem insigni- 
ficant. But when the deranged currency system of the state 
at that time, is considered, the scarcity of money, the disturbed 
conditions through which the state, it may be said, was still 
passing, and the still more important fact, that the people with 
few exceptions, were not established in business, the amount 
is magnificent. A compliment to the earnestness and power 
of the speakers, and a splendid tribute to the liberality and 
self-sacrificing nature of those who gave it. 

Notwithstanding that Dr. Henry L. Graves, the retiring 
president, left the institution his parting benediction and bless- 
ing, and the fact that Dr. Burleson, the president-elect, 
brought with him much learning and enthusiasm to his new 
position, and notwithstanding there had been a forward move- 
ment all along the line, there were, trustees and some friends 
full of pessimism, as to its future success and prosperity. 

They argued, that while some progress had been made, 
it was little more than a beginning; the buildings were inad- 
equate and unsuitable; there was no prospect of obtaining 
scientific and pholosophical apparatus; and not even the 
nucleus of a library had been formed. Even the learning and 
enthusiasm of the new president did not remove the feeling 
of doubt; for they contended that while perhaps he was the 
best man for the place whose services were available, still he 
was comparatively a young man, with no experience as a 
college president. These whisperings of discontent and 
demoralization, reached Dr. Burleson's ear, but did not dis- 
courage him, though he was fully aware of all the difficulties 
that were in the way of the success of the school. 

One of the mottoes that he had adopted in early life was, 
"A resolute mind is omnipotent." 

He had the theory and outline of a great university 
clearly in his mind, but understood that there was a vast dif- 
ferance between practical and theoretical knowledge, and 
however plausible a proposition might be, unless it was sus- 
ceptible of demonstration, it was utterly useless in the practical 
affairs of life. The present emergency was not a time for 
experiments, and the application of Utopian plans. Mistakes 

De. Rufus C. Bukleson. 117 

must be avoided, as far as human wisdom' could accomplish 
that end. 

To prepare himself for every issue that might arise in his 
administration, he sought counsel from educators of known 
ability, and acknowledged success. 

Letters were addressed to Dr. R. E. Pattison, president 
of the Seminary at Covington, Kentucky; Dr. Francis Way- 
land, president of Brown University; Dr. Basil Manly, pres- 
ident of Alabama University, asking for advice and sug- 
gestions, as to how to proceed in building up a great Baptist 
University in Texas. 

All these distinguished scholars and college presidents 
responded by making timely suggestions, and furnishing val- 
uable literature covering this field of practical learning. All 
concurred in the opinion, that in an effort to build up a school 
in a new country, where the population was a heterogeneous 
mass with unsettled and conflicting interests, and with diver- 
gencies of opinion upon all questions, with society crude and 
unorganized, it would be necessary to remodel and modify the 
regulations and courses of study in older, and more thoroughly 
organized and completely equipped institutions. They ad- 
vised that in ordaining rules and policies, that such only should 
be adopted, as were susceptible of being ultimately developed 
into the system of well-understood college law. 

After studying this literature, and considering all these 
suggestions, the following outline of the policy for the gov- 
ernment of the institution was decided on: 

First: .The government of Baylor University shall be 
strictly parental to all her students, in sickness or in health, 
in or out of school, and ever an alma mater, and not injusta 

Second : The president and faculty will seek by every 
possible means, to guard the health, and cultivate the morals, 
as well as, develop the intellect of the student, that they may 
become useful citizens in church and state. 

Third : All hazing, acts of vandalism, disregard of 
property rights, shall be placed under an eternal ban, as 
crimes against the college government, and well-ordered 

118 The Life and Writings of 

Fourth : The president and faculty will seek to impress 
upon every student, the fact that every rule is made for his 
good, and its rigid enforcement to promote his welfare. 

Fifth : Adopt such a curriculum, prescribe such a course 
of studies and such modes of teaching as are calculated to 
arouse thought, and develop the habit and faculty of think- 
ing, rapidly, profoundly and correctly. 

Sixth : In addition to the usual course of college studies, 
give special attention to English literature, and the history of 
our own great men, so as to fire the soul with love for God, 
home and native land. 

Seventh: The president and faculty will treat all 
students exactly alike, regardless of their circumstances in 
life ; and personal favoritism and partiality will be eliminated 
entirely from all regulations governing the school. 

Eighth : The mottoes of Baylor University shall be, 
"Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana;" "Dulee et Decorum, pro patria 

Having reached an understanding with the Trustees, as 
to a division of rights and authority between the President and 
themselves, and adopted the outline of a code for the Univer- 
sity, Dr. Burleson now commenced to cast about for a corps 
of teachers and assistants. 

He called to his assistance. Professor William L. Foster, 
Dr. T. C. Foster, Rev. Horace Clark, Miss Hattie Davis and 
Miss Mary Davis. In making his selections of teachers he 
was very fortunate, as all developed peculiar fitness for their 
positions, and worthy of the trust and confidence thus reposed 
in them. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 119 


First Session of Baylor Under Dr. Burleson's Presidency 
Difficulties Encountered School Reported to be 
Dead Method of Correcting Report Dr. Burleson 
a Born Advertiser First Catalogue Issued Rev. 
James Huckins Appointed General Financial Agent 
His Letter to the Trustees President Burleson 
Impresses the Trustees with the Stupendous Work 
of Building a Great University. 

[ HE first session of Baylor University under Dr. Bur- 
leson's administration opened September the 1st, 
1851, under many difficulties. He seemed to be 
in his native element, however, when combating obstacles. 
He fought for every victory he ever achieved in life, and no 
success ever came to him except at the point of the bayonet. 

When confronted with a stupendous obstruction his 
slender form seemed to be suddenly transformed into the 
proportions of a mighty giant, and his entire moral and intel- 
lectual nature a mighty flame of unconquerable resolution. 

The impediments in the way of the success of the opening 
session were numerous. The only buildings were a small 
two story house, erected in 1845 by the friends of Independ- 
ence Academy, 30x50 feet, and a two story stone building, 
built in 1849 by the trustees. The most serious trouble, how- 
ever, was the impression that had become current in every 
portion of the state, that owing to the resignation of Dr. H. 
L. Graves and faculty, the school was dead, and would never 
perhaps be resuscitated. 

The first work of the president and friends of the insti- 
tution therefore, was to counteract this erroneous impression, 

120 The Life and Writings of 

but just how, was a most perplexing problem. Texas at that 
time was entirely without railroads, telegraph or telephone 
lines, had no daily papers, and very few weeklies, and the only 
postal facilities or means of communication were by stage, or 
horse-back mail routes. The public thoroughfares had re- 
ceived little or no attention from state or county governments. 
Very few creeks were spanned by bridges, and the cumbersome 
ferry boat was the only means of crossing the larger rivers. 
It was a crisis however in the history of the school, and some- 
thing must be done. Dr. Burleson was equal to the emer- 
gency, and a plan was quickly devised. 

Circulars were printed announcing the opening of the 
school, personal letters were written to leading men in every 
settlement and community, and the services of a half dozen 
young men accustomed to horse back riding and familiar with 
the country, were secured. These half dozen couriers were 
started in as many directions, and each assigned to separate 
sections of country, so that no two would cover the same ter- 

These young men knew all the "trails," "fords," and 
short routes. If the water courses happened to be swollen, 
their hardy ponies were spurred into the water and swam 
to the opposite shores. They went on the wings of the wind, 
and in a few days every Baptist family in the state, as well a3 
many who were not Baptists, were in possession of a circular 
or letter, stating the status of educational affairs at Independ- 
ence; that not only would Baylor University open on the 
1st day of September, with a full corps of teachers, but that 
board could be secured at $8.00 per month, which included 
lodging and table accommodations, fuel, lights, laundry, medi- 
cines and nursing in case of sickness. This great sacrifice was 
made by the heroic people of the erstwhile delightful town 
of Independence, to encourage attendance, and thus enable 
the infant institution to recover its fallen fortunes, and get 
squarely on its feet. 

While these couriers were out, Dr. Burleson continued 
the work of putting the buildings in the best possible condi- 
tion, a work to which he had devoted himself with the resident 
trustees, during the entire summer. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 


He decided to separate the male and female departments. 
The buildings were situated one thousand yards apart on op- 
posite hills. The male department would be conducted in the 
stone building known as Graves Hall, in honor of the first 
president, and the female department conducted in the frame 
building used by Independence Academy. 

The work of the special couriers was partially successful 
in removing the wrong impressions that had gained currency 
abroad, but not in time for many students who had expected 
to attend to make the needed preparation and reach Inde- 
pendence and enter at the beginning of the term. 

The school opened however with a total enrollment of 
fifty-two; twenty-seven in the male, and twenty-five in the 
female department. 


From the pulpit, in the press, and on the platform much 
discussion had been indulged in as to the practicability or suc- 
cess of any effort to build up an institution of high grade in 
Texas at that time. The consensus of opinion was that society 
was too crude, and the attention and mind of the people too 
much absorbed in civil and political questions, giving form and 
stability to the government, building homes and establishing 
themselves in business, for that time and thought to be de- 
voted to an institution of learning, necessary to its success. 
It was contended, that the task when undertaken by Baptists 
owing to their democratic form of government, possessing no 
executive authority, relying, only on the constraining powers 

122 The Life and Writings of 

of voluntary action to execute plans, was utterly hopeless and 

It was also argued that Methodists, Episcopalians, Pres- 
byterians and Catholics, in view of their centralized ecclesias- 
tical forms, would succeed in all their educational enterprises 
far better than Baptists. This fallacious and deceptive posi- 
tion, seems to have been accepted by some of the former 
friends of Baylor University, and nothing but a successful 
venture could be expected to remove it. Indeed the faculty 
had been tainted with this view, and justified themselves in 
entertaining it by the history of Baylor, and the small attend- 
ance upon the school at that time. 

They went to Dr. Burleson with their demoralization and 
disaffection, and told him that he had made a fatal mistake 
in leaving a flourishing church, to go aboard a sinking ship, 
and advised that president and faculty alike resign before 
being engulfed. This did not swerve him one hair's breadth 
from his purpose, but as in every emergency of his life, he 
went bravely and earnestly to work, not only in the class room, 
but in writing personal letters to prominent men, and sending 
circulars all over Texas, presenting the true condition of the 
school, and imploring them to stand by it in this supreme 
moment of its history, or else Baptist institutions in Texas 
would be doomed for a century, and possibly for all time to 
come. The few students in school were valuable allies in this 
campaign. They wrote to their friends at home, and espec- 
ially all former students of their acquaintance, urging them to 
return, that there had never been such enthusiasm in study, 
such love and harmony in social intercourse, and that Baylor 
University under the Presidency of Dr. Burleson, would be- 
come a grand success and some day .the glory of the young 
Lone Star State. 

This method of advertising the school did not cease with 
the opening. The students and faculty continued to write 
personal letters, and Dr. Burleson advertised it liberaliy 
throuo'h the meaner channels available, wrote articles for 
the press, correcting the mistake that Baylor University was 
dead, showing that it was not even in a moribund condition, 
hut with a facultv unsurpassed by many older and better 

Dk. Rufits C. Burleson. 123 

established institutions, was prepared to offer first class educa- 
tional advantages. 

Dr. Burleson was a born advertiser, and this quality stood 
him in splendid stead all through life. What he wrote was 
read, and what he said was remembered. This plan of an- 
nouncing the condition of the school, and commending it to 
the people of Texas, was his origination. And while it may 
be said to have been simple, very natural, and in fact the only 
thing that could have been done under the circumstances, 
yet its wisdom consists in this fact. All great propositions 
are simple when demonstrated. Many men if confronted with 
his difficulty would have folded their arms, lost heart, and 
failed to do anything. The plan succeeded, and very soon 
students commenced to return, and in June, 1852, there were 
ninety-one male and seventy-five female students on the col- 
lege roll, a total of one hundred and sixty-six. 

During this year a modest catalogue was issued, the first 
ever issued by any school in the state. This contained some- 
thing of a financial exhibit of the receipts and disbursements 
of money during the session, and showed President Burleson's 
-compensation for the year to be exactly $332.00. His pro- 
portion of the money received would have been more than 
this sum, but he made a financial sacrifice, owing to the dis- 
content existing in the faculty with reference to their pay. 
Professors B. S. Fitzgerald and S. (Jr. O'Bryan, both of 
whom were accomplished scholars and teachers of experience, 
had been added to the teaching force, and nothing was more 
apparent than that the income from tuition receipts, could 
not be relied on to adequately compensate the members of the 
faculty. President Burleson pressed on the trustees the im- 
portance and urgent necessity of raising the endowment, stip- 
ulated as one of the conditions upon which he accepted the 
presidency. He volunteered to represent the board, in pre- 
senting the matter to the people of Texas, and suggested that 
Rev. James Huckins be employed as a general agent to raise 
the endowment. The board acted on President Burleson's 
-suggestion, at a meeting held on the 22d of June, 1852, and 
opened correspondence with Rev. Huckins immediately, who 
was then in the states. He was perfectly familiar with the 
liistory of the institution, and knew also every member of the 

124 The Life and Writings of 

Board. He knew them to be as noble spirits as ever served 
any institution, but all, except Judge Abner S. Lipscomb who 
had been a trustee of Alabama University, entirely without 
experience in the management of schools. Some members of 
the Board were fine scholars, all well educated, but learning 
was not the only quality required to launch a great educational 
enterprise upon a successful career, as stated, when Dr. Burle- 
son took charge, the trustees had reserved some authority ia 
the internal and disciplinary government of the students. 
When shown and convinced by him that this was not properly 
within their province, this authority was relinquished, and they 
devoted themselves entirely to the business affairs of the 

But even in this matter they had made some mistakes, 
had disregarded the advice of experienced educators, and in 
making expenditures had acted on the assumption that agents 
who collected money were under no sort of responsibility to 
the donors for its judicious use. Dr. Huckins knew that agents 
frequently receive donations for a specific purpose, and are 
expected to see that the money is used to execute the purpose 
for which it was contributed. The acts of the Board he also 
knew had not been reduced to business methods, or properly 
systematized, so while he was a devoted friend to the school,, 
and was willing to accept the agency, yet he learned lessons of 
wisdom from President Burleson in reference to the govern- 
ment of the University, and accepted the agency on the con- 
ditions laid down in the following communication : 

Hon. R. E. B. Baylor, Rev. Gr. W. Baines, Hon. A. G. Haynes,, 

Hon. W. Holmes, Committee of the Trustees of Baylor 

University : 

Dear Brethren: Your proposition to employ me as 
agent of Baylor University, at a salary of $1,000.00 per year 
and traveling expenses, has been very carefully considered, 
and I am now prepared to accept it on certain conditions. 

In making these conditions, I disclaim anything like dic- 
tation, impeachment of your acts, or to question your motives. 
I have no such feeling; but as the great burden of collecting 
funds devolves on me as agent, and as the donors will look to- 
me in some degree for the judicious expenditure of their 
money, you must excuse these conditions: 

Dk. Eufus C. Burleson. 125 

First: That you make no further appropriations until 
all the liabilities of the school are liquidated. 

Second: That you make immediate efforts, as soon as 
the debts of the institution are paid, to build suitable edifices, 
for rooms to accommodate the students of the collegiate de- 
partment, and also a boarding house. 

Third : That at the close of the present session, or your 
contract, you either sell the property you have purchased for 
a boarding house or rent it, and apply the income to the pay- 
ment of interest due from the Trustees to the endowment 

Fourth : That whatever is done in future by way of ex- 
penditure by the Trustees, so far as the funds department is 
concerned, shall be done by funds subscribed, and given ex- 
pressly for that purpose, as no money as yet received was sub- 
scribed for this department. 

Fifth : That a more judicious and economical system of 
expenditures be adopted, and that a statement, or memoranda 
of your past disbursements, be collected and arranged in a book 
by your Treasurer, so as to show the plain standing of all your 
financial transactions. 

Should these conditions be satisfactory to you, and if 
they will, in your opinion be satisfactory to the Board, I am 
willing should Providence permit, to serve you. If they are 
not, then I can not accept the agency. I am accountable, as 
all agents are, in no small degree for a wise and judicious ex- 
penditure of all money collected. Donors look to the agent; 
if they complain, they complain to the agent. The secretaries, 
or chief agents of all our great Baptist missionary and educa- 
tional societies, are the responsible parties in the eyes of the 
public. The Boards are hardly known in such matters. So 
is the financial agent of any great body. They are the instru- 
mentalities by which the funds are raised, and they can not 
avoid the responsibility connected with their disbursement. 
If wasted, or injudiciously used, they are made to suffer. 

May I therefore again repeat, that I make these sugges- 
tions in love and affection. I regret exceedingly some ex- 
penditures that have been made, but in future I trust more 
care will be exercised, and that we will be prepared to have 

126 The Life and Writings of 

every act scrutinized by a candid public and coming gener- 
ations. Sincerely Yours, 


The Board of Trustees were successful business men, and 
thoroughly conscientious, but failed in a measure, to compre- 
hend the relations between an agent and the public, or those 
that existed between the agent and trustees. They had not 
up to this time fully appreciated the fact that all money re- 
ceived by them was a trust fund for the honest and judicious 
handling of which, not only the agent was morally, if not 
legally accountable, but President Burleson also. 

As an educational document therefore it was very val- 
uable. More so, since it was in harmony with nearly every 
principle laid down by Dr. Burleson, defining the duties of 
President and Trustees, as a condition of his acceptance. They 
appreciated the wisdom of all Dr. Huckins' conditions, ac- 
cepted his terms, and commissioned him as the general finan- 
cial agent of the University. He was instructed to solicit sub- 
scriptions : 

First : To pay all debts of the University that had been 

Second : To erect suitable and commodious dormitories, 
so much needed for the male department. 

Third : For the Presidential endowment, and other 
chairs in the faculty. 

Fourth : To make much needed repairs and enlarge, and 
improve the accommodations in the female department. 

Fifth : To collect due-, and sell scholarships, for which 
the Board had provided. 

Sixth : To submit quarterly reports to the Treasurer of 
the Board, showing all subscriptions, and collections, and from 
what source derived. 

Seventh : To make a special effort to secure subscrip- 
tions to the endowment of the chair of Physical Science, which 
had been filled by Prof. J. B. Stiteler. 

President Burleson presented the importance of forming 
the nucleus of a college library to the Trustees, and also the 
indispensable neccessity of an ample supply of chemical and 
philosophical apparatus. Acting on his suggestion Dr.. 

Dk. Rufus C. Buklesox. 127 

Huckins, the agent, was instructed to make an appeal to the 
people for standard books, and the means with which to pur- 
chase the apparatus. Dr. Huckins being then as noticed in 
the states, this contract was made by correspondence, and he 
went immediately to work. Whatever of unwisdom may have 
characterized the acts of the Trustees on former occasions, 
and on other matters, thev made no mistake in this instance. 
The agent was a loyal and devoted friend not only to Baylor 
Universitv, but all Texas. He canvassed the state in 1838 
and '39 in the interest of the Home Mission Societv, with the 
view of collecting data as to the needs of the state for that 
great organization of world wide usefulness. He had lived in 
Texas since 1840, and from two years traveling, and eleven 
years iv-idence, he was prepared to present the cause he repre- 
sented from personal knowledge, which gave him a very de- 
cided advantage. 

Dr. Huckins was a fine scholar, an eloquent preacher, a 
happy extemporaneous speaker and a man of tireless energy. 
He possessed much personal magnetism, dauntless courage, 
and was very resolute in purpose. All these qualities fitted 
him for the position of general financial agent of the school,, 
above almost any man, whose services could have been secured. 
He passed to his reward August 11th, 1863. 

The Board of Trustees held frequent sessions during the 
summer, and Dr. Burleson was in almost constant communi- 
cation with them. He impressed them with the stupendous 
work of building a great institution of learning anywhere, 
and under the most favorable circumstances, but especially 
in a new country, like Texas, was at that time. 

Personal and financial sacrifices would have to be made, 
herculean toil performed, sleepless vigilance exercised, and a 
high order of business wisdom and acumen required. Judge 
Lipscomb also lectured the Board frequently, not only coun- 
seling them very wisely, but giving them many chapters from 
his experience, as a trustee of Alabama University. By these 
means, the Trustees had a clearer conception of their duties, 
authority, prerogatives and privileges. More than this, the 
situation was much more hopeful and reassuring from the 
fact that there was a clear understanding between the Presi- 


The Life and Writings of 

dent and the Board, a perfect understanding between the agent 
and the Trustees also, and a beautiful degree of harmony pre- 
vailing between President, Trustees, General Agent and Fac- 
ulty. All these conditions presaged success, and the victories 
to be achieved in coming years. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. J 20 


Effects of the Revolutions Between Texas and Mexico 
in 1836, and Between the United States and Mexico 
in 1846 Still Perceptible Mexicans Muttering, 
Texans on the Alert Successful Canvass by the 
Financial Agent of Baylor in the States His Re- 
port Commences Work in Texas Lonely Travel: 
Sleeps Under Trees President Burleson's Compen- 


HE results of the revolution between Texas and Mexico 
in 1S36, and the war between the United States and 
Mexico ten years later, in 1816, both ending in the 
defeat of the Mexican forces, and the loss of immense territory 
by Mexico, intensified the spirit of revolution among these peo- 
ple. Technically the issues involved in these wars were settled, 
morally there was no settlement at all, for the reason that the 
mass of Mexicans chafed under the defeat and disasters as a 
consequence of these wars, and longed for an opportune time 
to avenge their wrongs. 

One of the favorite pretexts and excuses for reviving and 
renewing the controversy with Texas, before being admitted 
into the Union, and with the United States after annexation, 
was the question of the boundary of the territory included in 
the geographical limits of Texas, and territory ceded to the 
American government as a result of the war of '16. 

The state had nothing to fear from the mutterings of dis- 
content heard across the Rio Grande, and the hostility and 
hatred of the Mexican people. The constant agitation of this 
question by the press of Mexico, and the remote possibility 

130 The Life abd Writings of 

of another resort to arms with a people, with whom, as with 
all Latin races, revolution seems to be an innate element of 
disposition and character, kept the affairs of Texas in a state 
of some uncertainty, and hindered to some extent its progress 
and development. 

This was. especially so of educational matters, and moral 
enterprises. Baylor University had been effected by these 

The Treaty negotiated with Mexico in 18,53 by Thomas 
Gadsden, by which the United States paid ten million dollars, 
and secured the entire Marrila Valley, consisting of an area 
of forty-four thousand square miles, and including most of the 
territory of Arizona and ISTew Mexico, removed even the possi- 
bility of further trouble with Mexico, and Texas from this time 
on, went forward in leaps and bounds. 

Dr. Burleson took advantage of this wise piece of states- 
manship, as it effected Baylor University in particular, and 
education in Texas in general, to advance the interest of the 
institution over which he presided. 

Another favorable event in the history of the school was, 
Rev. James Huckins, the general financial agent had returned 
from the states where he had been canvassing for Baylor 
University, with much success. He brought with him 
$2,256.00 in cash collected for the endowment fund, a number 
of valuable books presented to the library, and also contribu- 
tions for the nucleus of chemical, philosophical and scientific 

A still more encouraging feature of the agent's report 
was that in Xew Orleans, Mobile, Charleston, Richmond, 
Xashville, Boston, and other centers of wealth and population 
that he had visited, and presented the importance of educa- 
tion in Texas, the interest of the people was aroused on the 
subject, and there was an earnest desire among the more in- 
fluential and educated classes for the religious and educa- 
tional uplifting of the people of the state. 

President Burleson was much encouraged by this report, 
and the Board instructed Dr. Huckins to commence his can- 
vass of Texas at once. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 131 

Texas has now ten thousand miles of railroads on which 
fast trains fly from limit to limit in a few hours. It has also 
a network of telegraph and telephone lines, and almost every 
town and vicinity is blessed with a daily mail. In many 
places rural free delivery has been introduced, and mail matter 
is posted at the front gate and received at the same place. 
On occasions uncommonly urgent, when the telegraph 
line is thought to be too slow, people living hundreds, and 
thousands of miles away are rung up, and communicated with 
instantly, in person. The fast train annihilates distance, the 
telephone, time. 

Few people, now living, can appreciate v/hat a canvass 
of the state at that time involved. It meant long, weary, 
horseback rides, over lonely prairies, and forest solitudes: 
sometimes swimming swollen streams, and resting at night 
beneath the gracious boughs of an oak. The tired horse, in- 
stead of being turned into a comfortable barn, was "hobbled 
out," to feed on the long grass, while the agent, meatless and 
breadless, hoped to reach a settler's house early the next morn- 
ing, and find something to satisfy the cravings of the inner 

Dr. Huckins had been tenderly bred, and notwithstanding 
he had traveled in Texas for five years as missionary, and ad- 
vance agent for the American Baptist Home Mission Society, 
and knew the privations and hardships he would have to un- 
dergo, accepted the position cheerfully, and performed his 
duties gladly. 

On horseback, and alone, this scholar, and cultured' Chris- 
tian man, who had thrilled the people of the East with hia 
eloquence, and elevated Texas pioneers to higher planes of 
social and Christian excellence, started on his mission. The 
scattered Baptists, and settlers were visited, the importance 
of Baylor University presented. The people loved the insti- 
tution, the cause of education and the man. They responded 
to his appeals generously and promptly, and if they had 
possessed the financial ability, every necessity and want of the 
University would have been supplied. 

Of money they had very little, and promised very little. 
Their substance, however, they divided, so when Dr. Huckins 

132 The Life and Writings of 

finished the year's canvass, and submitted his report to the 
Board of Trustees, he had raised $30,000. A small part of 
this was in cash, but the amount consisted mainly in wild 
lands, cows, horses, mules, hides, wool, beeves, and cotton. 

The agent's service in behalf of the school from a finan- 
cial standpoint was valuable, but was of equal, if not of more 
importance, from another point of view. It advertised it more 
than could have been done at that time, through any other 
medium, and thus brought it into prominence, and commended 
it to public favor, which perhaps could not have been accom- 
plished in any other way. 

The Trustees thanked Dr. Huckins for his timely and 
successful service to the institution, and he returned to Gal- 
veston, to accept the pastorate of the church which he had 
organized in 1840, and to which he had been unanimously 

As stated, Dr. Burlesons' compensation for the first year 
of his presidency was $336.00, as a result of his own arduous 
efforts, coupled with the successful work of the general agent, 
this was increased the second year to $642.00. 

Prof. J. B. Stiteler was added to the faculty during this 
year, and filled the chair of Natural Science, and the German 

The Philomathesian Society was established during this 
session, and held weekly meetings for debates, lectures, and 
other forms of mental culture. 

The course of study was broadened, raised to a higher 
standard, and into it a spirit of utilitarianism was infused. 

The study of the modern languages, especially the Span- 
ish and German, was decided to be of the highest importance 
by the President; of the institution and Board of Trustees. 
The population of Mexico, they argued, to which Texas is 
properly the key, speak the Spanish ; and the original grants of 
land in our rapidly growing state, are written in that language; 
and as many of the students have the practice of law in view, 
it is important that facilities be afforded them for acquiring 
the Spanish languages. 

The importance of the German, arises from the fact, that 
already a large number of these people have settled in this 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 133 

country, and hundreds more are daily arriving on our shores. 
In years to come, business contact with them will be unavoid- 
able, and while it is the duty of every person who emigrates to 
this country, with the view of making it his permanent home, 
claiming the protection of the United States flag, and taking 
iid vantage of our laws, to learn the English language and con- 
form to the genius of our civil institutions, still there may, 
and doubtless mil be exegencies when a knowledge of the Ger- 
man will be both desirable and valuable. 

Hence President Burleson and the Trustees were anxious 
to secure a Faculty capable of teaching these languages, as well 
as the studies in the college course. They therefore congratu- 
lated themselves that in nominating a Faculty for this session, 
they had accomplished this most desirable end. They then 
spoke with some little boastfulness, and said, "Baylor Uni- 
versity can now furnish facilities for the acquisition of the 
French, Spanish and German languages, not surpassed by any 
similar institution. 

The matriculations in the male department at the close of 
this session were 95, two in the Sophomore class, 14 in the 
Freshman, and 77 in the preparatory department. In the 
female department about 90 students were enrolled, making 
a total of 185 students in the entire institution. 

134 The Life and Writings of 


Miss Georgia Jenkins Birth Comes to Texas with Her 
Father in 1836 Attends Judson Female Institute 
Graduates with Honor Temperance Demonstration 
in Old Washington Marriage in 1853 Bridal 
Tour to New Orleans First Dinner at Home Con- 
sulted by Her Husband on all Important Matters 
Domestic Policy Government of Her Family 
Sacrifices and Struggles for the Cause of Education 
in Texas Her Character. 

j j R. BURLESON was very much absorbed in the affairs 
UK? of Baylor University during the session of 1853, but 
3S8K3 no t tew much so, to devote himself to some of the 
weighty social and domestic affairs of life. He had visited In- 
dependence frequently, during his residence in Houston, 
formed the acquaintance of Miss Georgia Jenkins, and be- 
came enamored with her beauty, and charms of character. He 
wooed and won her hand and heart, and on the 3rd day of 
January, 1853, led her to the marriage altar, where Dr. Henry 
L. Graves, the first president of the University, in the little 
Baptist school house, used for the opening of Baylor, per- 
formed the ceremony that inseparably linked their destinies for 

Many acts of wisdom, in private, as well as public life, 
are to be justly placed to Dr. Burleson's credit, but in no step 
ever taken was more wisdom displayed than in this affair of 
the heart, as was fully verified by forty-eight years of mar- 
ried life. Miss Jenkins was born in Merriweather, Green ' 

Dr. Kufus C. Burleson. 


County, Georgia, and when a mere child, came to Texas in 
1836 with her father, Judge P. C. Jenkins, an eminent lawyer 
and statesman, and settled in Washington. 

Three years after her arrival in Texas, in 1839, Judson 
Female Institute was established in Marion, Alabama, under 
the able management of Dr. Milo P. Jewett, who has the dis- 
tinction of being the first President of Vassar College, a school 
of world wide renown. Judson soon became one of the first 
institutions in the south, and when in 1849, Miss Jenkins was 
ready to enter college, she was sent to this institute. 


Although designed for young ladies, "it does not neglect 
solid and thorough education, yet it has always given special 
attention to the aesthetic branches, and as a consequence has 
gained great reputation for the accomplishments which it 
bestows upon, and weaves into the character and lives of the 
young ladies who are educated under its management." 

Miss Jenkins, being well prepared in the rudiments, 
finished the full course, and graduated with high honors in 
1852, and returned immediately to her home in the west. 

She came of a family of prominent cultivated people, 
and being well educated herself, was hence imbued with its 

136 The Life axd Writings of 

importance, and well fitted for all the duties of an educators 

The Faculty of the University very generously made 
some financial concessions to Dr. Burleson, and excused him 
from active teaching duties, which enabled him to make a 
bridal tour to New Orleans. He and his bride were driven to 
Chappell Hill, and after spending two or three days with 
friends, took the stage for Houston. 

Galveston was then visited, two days pleasantly spent 
with acquaintances, after which, a steamer was taken for ]STew 
Orleans, where they remained five weeks. 

Mrs. Burleson spent the time in social recreation, and 
Dr. Burleson in perfecting himself in the Spanish language. 

The tour was extended to Raymond, Mississippi. 

Returning to Texas, Dr. Burleson and bride went direct 
to their modest little cottage in Independence. 

The first dinner Mrs. Burleson ever served as mistress of 
her own household, she had to dine with her, Judge R. E. B. 
Baylor, Rev. H. Garrett, ]ST. Kavanaugh, T. J. Jackson, Trus- 
tees of the school, and eight boarders. 

Mrs. Burleson's mother, with sympathy for her inexperi- 
enced daughter, contributed several dishes for the meal. Judge 
Baylor addressing himself to the young wife said, "Sister 
Burleson, your first dinner is most excellent, and if you im- 
prove as you acquire experience in the culinary art, you will 
be able to arrange a spread not only good enough for a college- 
president, but fit for a king." 

Mrs. Burleson was too conscientious to receive all this 
compliment to herself, and divulged the secret that her good 
mother had assisted her in preparing the meal. 

At the marriage altar was not the first time Mr. Burleson 
had met Miss Jenkins on an interesting public occasion. In 
1849, two years before their marriage, there was a great temp- 
erance demonstration in Washington, under the auspices of the 
Sons of Temperance. People were present from all the coun- 
try within a radius of one hundred miles of that town, and 
living witnesses estimate the crowd at ten thousand people, 
Governors, Senators, Congressmen, Judges, Lawyers and dis- 
tinguished Statesmen participated in the demonstration. It 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 137 

was on a scale far in advance of any meeting that had been 
undertaken in Texas up to that time and for brilliancy and 
display, easily exceeded any convocation ever held in the state. 

Miss Jenkins was selected to present a silk banner to the 
state organization of the Sons of Temperance, and Mr. Burle- 
son was commissioned to receive it. Miss Jenkins was a strong 
friend of temperance from her girlhood, and on this occasion 
acquitted herself with great credit, in the presentation address. 
Mr. Burleson was not a recent convert to the cause, and not a 
novice in temperance speaking, having delivered his first ad- 
dress on the subject in 1843, when only 20 years old in Ita- 
wamba County, Mississippi. 

Mrs. Burleson was consulted freely by her husband, be- 
fore a decision was reached upon any question of importance. 
This could be shown by a great number of letters written to 
her, during his absence from home. The following is selected 
for this purpose, from among scores found among. his papers. 
It is used in this connection for the additional reason that it 
contains some reference to his election as president of Union 
University at Murfreesboro, Tennessee. 

Decatur, Ala., Aug. 21, 1859. 

My Dear Wife : Since I mailed my last letter yester- 
day, I have received a communication from Doctors J. K. 
Graves and John W. King, informing me of my election to 
the Presidency of Union University. I am so overwhelmed 
with astonishment that I know not what to think, say or 
write. Oh how I do wish I was by your side to hear your wise 
counsel, always of so much value to me. I feel incompetent 
to decide any great question without your advice. 

In every respect, my position as President of Union Uni- 
versity would be easier, and perhaps more honorable and 
profitable. There we should be clear of taking boarders and 
much drudgery. The salary I learn is ample, and the society 
as good as any in the United States. Murfreesboro has about 
5,000 inhabitants, or is about the size of Houston. Then as 
successor of Dr. Eaton, my position would be as honorable as 
that of any Baptist preacher in the country. 

But then I am bound to Texas, our church, and Baylor 
University by a thousand tender ties of joy, of suffering and 

138 The Life and Writings of 

affection. How could we leave our mother, brothers, sisters, 
and the bones of our little daughter; and Brothers Ross, Creath 
and Taliaferro ! The very thought makes me weep, and yet 
the hand of God may be in this move, and I dare not refuse it 
a prayerful consideration. We have had some experience in 
Texas that was by no means pleasant, but then opposition and 
difficulties would meet us anywhere, except in heaven, I con- 
fess it would be very agreeable to me to be so near my vener- 
able father, and other members of my family. One thing that 
astonishes me so much, is the course of Bro. J. R. Graves; he 
tells me my election was unanimous, urges me to accept, and 
overwhelmes me with kindness. 

Please show this letter to Brother Richard, and you and 
he write me your opinion immediately. 

I have replied to the note of the committee on notifica- 
tion, that I would visit Murfreesboro, and examine the situa- 
tion carefully, and give them an answer. But I promise you 
my dear wife on the altar of fidelity, and by the sweet eyes 
of our dear children, not to make any decision until I see or 
hear from you. 

Your devoted husband, 


Five children was the result of this union, only two of 
whom survive. 

Mrs. Hallie B. Morris, and Richard Adair Burleson, 
both of Waco, Texas. 

When God called the third little child to Himself, Dr. 
and Mrs. Burleson were in <\ rkness and grief, but exclaimed, 
"Let God's will be done, it may be that He intends for us to 
be Mother and Father to the children of Texas." This was not 
to be, so far as all the children of Texas were concerned, but 
10,000 rise up to bless their memory, and hold them in the 
most affectionate recollection. 

To found, and successfully conduct the affairs of a great 
institution of learning, involves toil and sacrifice on the part 
of those immediatelv connected with it. This toil, this vouna' 
and tenderly raised woman cheerfully performed, and these 

Dr. Ruftts C. Burleson. 139 

sacrifices she as cheerfully made. The full extent of her self- 
f orgetfulness only God will ever know. 

She is a woman of admirable poise and imbued with much 
tenacity of design. She was loyal to her father in the wilds 
of Texas long before Baylor University was established, has 
been a devoted working member of the Baptist church wher- 
ever she has lived, and true to her great husband in the grand 
work of his life. When he was in the midst of difficulties, and 
seemed to be almost overwhelmed, she was cool and hopeful, 
and offered valuable counsel. 

Hers is a most beautiful life, and uniformlv so; and her 

J %J 7 

admirable traits of character were not only resplendent in 
times of sunshine and joy, but were lustrous and radiant when 
overcast with the clouds of adversity, when strength of pur- 
pose is most needed. To her children, she has been a mother, 
in the broadest acceptation of that term ; to her husband, a con- 
stant living inspiration, and richly deserves the exalted esteem 
in which she is held by family and friends. 

Mrs. Burleson, with a correct view of the mechanism of 
society, of which the family is the unit, believed with Mrs. 
Sarah J. Hale, 

"Home is the sphere of harmony and peace, 
The spot where angels find a resting place, 
AVhen, bearing blessings, they descend to earth." 

She understood that it was the key to the arch of refined 
society, and the corner-stone and foundation upon which rests 
the good found among all nations. She therefore sedulously 
guarded the threshold of her home that her family might be 
reared and dwell in an untainted atmosphere, "By their 
fruits ve shall know them," was a declaration as true in its 

tJ 7 

application to the moral, as the physical world. 

The law of cause and effect is ceaseless in its operations, 
and universal in the diffusion of its energies. In the relation 
of parent and child, its forces are as palpable, as the relation 
of the tree to the fruit it bears; so "Like parent like child"' 
was no exception to the doctrine, and domesticity hangs to- 
gether like the various parts in architectureal construction. 

Mrs. Burleson therefore believed that, not only must 
her own life be a spotless example, but her children as well, 


The Life axd Writings of 


Dk. Ruftts C. Burlesox. 141 

and that her home must be untainted by the corrupting affairs 
of the world, if her family bore the blameless reputation, ex- 
pected of those occupying a position so exalted before the 

That her high ideals in personal character and home life 
might be attained, as nearly as possible, every book, the nature 
of which would tend to vitiate the taste of her household was 
placed under a ban; every amusement not calculated to ele- 
vate the character, prohibited, and every form of social recre- 
ation not refining in its tendency, disallowed, as a pastime, in 
the sacred precincts of her family circle. 

As a result of her domestic policy her surviving children 
have been to her a real joy in the evening of life, and not 
thorns in the flesh, as is too often the case where children are 
allowed to indulge in practices of doubtful propriety. 

Mrs. Burleson was raised in affluent circumstances, and 
was a stranger to the sacrifices she was called upon to make 
after her marriage for the cause of education in Texas; but 
nevertheless, whether occupying her first unpretending cottage 
at Independence and Waco, or her present more spacious 
residence, she was uncomplaining, and felt that her immola- 
tion was for the glory of God, and the good of the world. 

The improvement accomplished by the people in educa- 
tional matters in the last half of the nineteenth century, is 
flowing on in a mighty tide to the generations yet to come, 
and will roll on downward to latest posterity. It will bear 
upon its bosom our triumphs, our victories, our virtues and 
blessings, and whatever else we have, meritorious to bequeathe 
as an inheritance. All these will be enjoyed and shed their 
fragrance on lives not yet come into the world, and mankind 
will be raised to higher planes of moral and intellectual ex- 

But some things will not be transmitted, or inherited by 
posterity, either immediate or remote, and these are the trials 
and sacrifices made by such heroines as Mrs. Georgia J. Burle- 
son for nearly a half century, in behalf of education and re- 
ligion in the wilderness of Texas, when this mighty Baptisl 
empire was almost a void, and without moral comeliness or 

142 The Life and Writings of 


Baylor Now a Real University Every Facility for a 
Complete Education Offered A College Code 
Adopted Duties of the President and Trustees 
Defined Admission of Students Course of Instruc- 

/k T the opening of the third session of the institution in 
1854, 110 students matriculated in the male depart- 
ment. Scholars were advanced to the Senior, Junior, 
Sophomore and Ereshman classes, and the school began to 
assume the proportions of a real university. Every facility 
for a complete education was offered; notwithstanding which 
fact, there was some disposition on the part of parents to send 
their children to be educated in the schools of other states. 
This was ill-advised at the time, and unfair to Texas institu- 
tions, and remains so to-dav. 

Dr. Burleson protested against the practice in the fol- 
lowing language : 

"The President and Trustees see with regret the tendency 
with some Texans to patronize Northern or distant colleges 
instead of sustaining institutions founded in their own state. 
It is evident however, that a young man educated in Texas, 
will have peculiar advantages, not only in forming many 
acquaintances from every part of the state during his college 
course, but in learning fully, the habits, character, and want,-* 
of the people with whom he is to live and act. 

It is the fixed determination of the President and Trus- 
tees, to fullv meet the educational wants of Texas, and to 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 143 

qualify their students to become the brightest ornaments, and 
firmest pillars of this great and growing commonwealth." 

At a meeting held just before the opening of the session, 
the President and Trustees adopted a scientific course for the 
benefit of students preparing for business pursuits, or those 
whose means would not allow them to complete the regular 
course. This embraced the entire course of sciences, mathe- 
matics, Belles-Lettres, and one of the modern languages. Any 
student completing these studies, was entitled to the Degree 
of Bachelor of Philosophy. 

The adoption of the following code, gave the university 
still more dignity as such, and defined more clearly the rela- 
tions between President, Professor, Trustee and pupil. 


The government of Baylor University is designed to par- 
take of both moral and parental character. 

It is intended by a mild, yet firm treatment, and by ap- 
pealing to the better feelings of the heart, to secure attention 
to study, a correct deportment, and a taste for intellectual pur- 
suits and virtuous habits. In order to secure these great endd 
with more certaintv, the President and Board have estab- 
lished the following laws and regulations : 

Of the Board of Trustees. 

It shall be the duty of the Trustees to enact the laws, and 
taken general supervision of the University. They have the 
power to elect Professors, determine their salaries, and, if 
necessary, remove them from office. They shall conduct the 
financial affairs of the institution, and furnish buildings, lib- 
rary and apparatus. 

They shall have the sole power of expelling students, and 
fixing the rates of tuition. They shall meet as often as the 
gocd of the institution may require. 

Of the Presidext axd Professors. 

It shall be the duty of the President to preside at all the 
meetings of the Faculty, at which he shall be entitled to one 

144 The Life axd Writings of 

vote as Professor, and the casting vote when the votes of the 
Faculty are equally divided. It shall be his duty to lay before 
the Faculty and Trustees all matters relating to the welfare 
of the institution, which may seem to him, to need their atten- 

The President, aided by the Faculty, shall be charged 
with the execution of the laws of the University relating to 
instruction and discipline. He, or such officer as he may 
appoint in his absence, shall conduct religious services in the 
chapel, morning and evening. 

He shall make a semi-annual report in writing to the 
Board of Trustees, of the condition of every department; and 
shall offer such suggestions and propose such measures as in his 
opinion would tend to its improvement. 

He shall see that a regular and separate account is kept 
of every student's standing and character, and by the aid of 
the Faculty, shall promptly suspend every student whose 
standing, either moral or literary, is such as to require it ac- 
cording to law. 

He shall see that a monthly, report of the standing of 
every* student is sent to his parent or guardian. 

The President shall also be a Professor entitled to the 
salary and responsible for the duties of that office. 

Every Professor shall devote himself earnestly to 
the duties of his department, with which no other duty shall 

It shall be his dutv not onlv to communicate a given 
amount of knowledge to his classes, but to incite in them an 
ardent love of learning and virtue, and inspire them with 
lofty aspirations for mental and moral greatness. 

Each Professor shall consider himself an officer of dis- 
cipline as much as of instruction, charged with the supervision 
of his own class. 

He will take notice of every instance of absence or viola- 
tion of the laws, whether in his own class or elsewhere, and 
take measures at once to correct it; if his own efforts be unsuc- 
cessful, or the offence be repeated, he shall report it to the 
proper authority. 

Dr. Eufus C. Burleson. 145 

It shall be the duty of the Professors to report the Presi- 
dent to the Board of Trustees, if he neglect to enforce the 
laws of the University. 

Each recitation shall continue one hour, unless otherwise 
ordered by the Faculty. Of this time, fifteen minutes shall be 
occupied in reviewing the recitation of the preceding day. 

The time of recitations shall be so arranged that each 
student may have ten minutes recreation between his recita- 

Immediately after the daily recitation of each student, 
the Professor shall affix a numerical mark to his name, desig- 
nating the value of his recitation. For a perfect recitation the 
number shall be ten; for an imperfect one a smaller number, 
and for a deficiency 0. 

If the deficiency has been satisfactorily explained before 
the commencement of the recitation that is, if it has arisen 
from circumstances over which the student had no control, no 
other mark shall be added. If the explanation be unsatisfac- 
tory, or if no explanation be offered, it shall incur an additional 
demerit mark of from three to ten. Disturbance in the cKapel, 
or the lecture room, or in any part of the College premises, 
shall incur a demerit of from three to ten. 

Absence at the time of calling the roll, unless previous 
permission be granted, or unless the reason why that permis- 
sion could not be requested, be rendered previously to 12 
o'clock, M., of the subsequent day, shall incur a demerit of 
from three to ten. 

Absence from rooms after dark and before 9 o'clock, P. 
M., a demerit of five; if after nine o'clock, P. M., a demerit 
of ten. These will all be entered upon the report of each 
Professor. No allowance is ever to be made for repeated neg- 
ligence or habitual indolence. 

Whenever the demerits of a student for any term amount 
to thirty, it shall be the duty of the President to inform his 
parent or guardian of the fact, and whenever his demerits 
amount to one hundred, to dismiss him from the University 
and to inform his parent or guardian that he has done so. 

On Monday of every week each officer shall make to the 


146 The Life ami Weitings of 

President a report of the standing of every student for the 
week preceding. 

The Faculty shall meet weekly at such hour as they may 
appoint. They shall choose a Secretary, who shall keep a 
permanent record of all their doings. 

Each Professor shall hold himself responsible for tin' 
condition of his recitation room, and for the preservation and 
good order of the apparatus and instruments committed to his 

The Board of Trustees shall have the authority to dis- 
miss any officer whenever, in their judgment, the good of the 
Institution may demand it; and also to appoint any person or 
persons of good moral character and ascertained competency 
to teach in the University, in any department of science or 
learning, on such conditions as they may approve. 

Xo Professor shall resign without permission of the Board 
of Trustees, except at the end of a term, and after having 
given two months' previous notice of his intention to do so. 

Admission of Students. 

Xo student shall be admitted unless he presents to the 
President suitable testimonials of good moral character; and 
if he comes from another College he must also present a certifi- 
cate of regular 'dismission, and of good standing in the institu- 
tion he has left. 

The earliest age at which it will be advantageous for ;t 
student to enter the University, is at the completion of the 
fifteenth year. The President is, however, authorized to 
matriculate a student at an earlier age,, provided sufficient and 
peculiar reasons exist, and his parent or guardian places him 
under such moral supervision, as is satisfactory to himself. 

The form of matriculation is as follows: A student who 
wishes to become a member of the University must first pre- 
sent bis Testimonals to the President, who, if satisfied of his 
evidence- of good character, will admit him as a candidate for 
examination, and direct him to the officer, by whom the exam- 
ination is to lie made. If his examination be satisfactory, the 
student shall procure and read a copy of the By-Laws of the 
University; after which he shall call on the President, and 

Dr. Ruffs C. Burleson. 147 

sign a declaration of his deliberate intention to obey all the 
laws of the University, so long as he shall remain a member 
of it. 

As soon as a student is matriculated, the President shall 
furnish his parent or guardian (if he be a minor) a copy of the 
laws of the University. 

Requisition for Admission. 

Students received in the Preparatory Department at any 
stage of advancement. Candidates for admission in the Fresh- 
man class, must sustain an examination in the following books : 
English, Latin and Greek Grammars, Caesar, Virgil, Cicero's 
select orations, Greek Testament, Arithmetic, and Algebra as 
far as equations of the second degree. Candidates for ad- 
vanced standing, must sustain an examination in all the studies 
required of the class which they wish to enter. 

Course oe Study. 

The following are courses of instruction in the University. 
Others may be added however from time to time, according 
to the pleasure of the Faculty and Trustees : 

A course of instruction in the Latin language and litera- 

A course of instruction in the Greek language and litera- 

A course of instruction in Mathematics. 

A course of instruction in Modern Language-. 

A course of instruction in Natural Philosophy. 

A course of instruction in Civil Engineering. 

A course of instruction in Chemistry and Phvsioloow. 

A course of instruction in the English Language and Lit- 
erature, and Rhetoric and Oratory. 

A course of instruction in Moral and Intellectual Philo- 
sophy, and the Evidences of Christianity. 

A course of instruction in History and Political Economy. 

A course of instruction in the Application of Chemistry 
to the Fine Arts. 

148 The Life and Writings of 

Any student completing the above courses shall be en- 
titled to the Degree of A. B. 

Partial Course. 

Those who wish to pursue a partial course of study can do 
so by a request from their parent or guardian; or, if of suit- 
able age, by their own request. They will be required to re- 
cite with the regular classes in those studies which are similar. 
They will have the privilege of regular students, and free 
access to the Library and Lectures. 


As the object of discipline is to promote mental and moral 
culture, and restrain vice, the following laws shall be strictly 
observed : 

1st. Every student shall pursue diligently the course of 
studies prescribed for him by the Faculty; and failing to do 
so, he shall first be affectionately admonished by the Faculty, 
and unless reclaimed, shall be suspended from the Institution. 

2nd. If a student is unable, from ill health, to pursue 
his studies, he shall immediately request leave of absence; 
until such be obtained, he is held responsible for the discharge 
of his duties. It shall be the duty of the President to com- 
municate immediately to the parent or guardian of the student 
that such leave of absence has been granted. 

3rd. Any student guilty of using profane or obscene lan- 
guage shall be publicly reprimanded; and for the third offense 
he shall be suspended. 

4th. ISTo student shall carry about his person or keep fire- 
arms or other dangerous weapons, and if found guilty shall be 

5th. Any student guilty of playing at cards, or any 
other game of hazard, shall be suspended. 

Gth. Any student who shall oppose, or speak against the 
decisions and established rules of the Faculty, in the presence 
of other students, shall first be publicly reprimanded, and on 
the second offense shall be suspended. 

Dk. Rufus C. Burleson. 149 

7th. Any student who shall be guilty of licentiousness, 
using ardent spirits, or visiting drinking establishments, shall 
be suspended. 

8th. "No student shall be out of his room after the hour 
prescribed by the Faculty; and any student guilty of nocturnal 
disorders or ro veilings, shall be suspended. 

9th. No student shall become connected with any danc- 
ing school, society or social club, without the approval of the 

10th. No suspended student shall come within the col- 
lege campus, but shall retire to such place, and for such a timo 
as prescribed by the Faculty; and failing to obey this rule, 
shall be deemed worthy of expulsion. 

11th. Any student who associates with an expelled stu- 
dent, shall be deemed worthy of suspension. 

12th. The laws of the University extend over the whole 
period, from commencement to close of term; no portion of 
any week being exempt from them. 

13th. Any student who behaves improperly at church, 
or commits any act inconsistent with the deportment of a 
gentleman, shall first be affectionately admonished by the 
President, and unless reclaimed, he shall request the parent 
or guardian to withdraw the offender from the institution. 

14th. Every student shall be responsible for the dam- 
ages committed by him on the furniture and property of the 

15th. Permission of absence from the University shall 
not be granted unless for causes of urgent necessity. 

16th. No student who is a minor, shall open an account 
without the written permission of his parent or guardian; 
and every student is required to make a monthly report to his 
parent or guardian of his expenses. 

17. The Faculty shall have power to enact, from time 
to time, such other regulations as they may deem necessary, 
not inconsistent with the established laws and regulations of 
the University. 

The "Adelphian," the third volunteer literary society was 
formed among the students during the session. 

150 The Life and Writings of 


Close of the Fall Teem of 1854 School in Prosperous 
( Iondition Three Literary, and Several Secret 
Societies Formed Society Demonstratk >n Address 
of Eev. E. II. Taliaferro President Burleson Un- 
favorably Impressed with the Effect of These So- 
cieties on the Student Body Delivers a Lec- 
ture ox the Subject in 1855, Which was Repeated, 
and Elaborated Before the State Teachers' Associa- 
tion at El Paso in 1898 The El Paso Address Haz- 
ing The Practice Suppressed in Baylor University. 


T the close of the session of Baylor University in 1854, 
there were three literary, or debating societies eon- 

nected with the institution, all partaking more or less 
of a secret nature. The Philomathesian, Erisophian and Adel- 
phian. In addition to these were several purely secret societies 
formed and almost every student in the university was a mem- 
ber of some one of these organizations. The members became 
much absorbed in the success of these societies, and in many 
instances neglected their studies to promote their welfare. 
They gave a great demonstration during commencement week, 
and invited Tier. P. FT. Taliaferro then pastor at Austin, to 
deliver a special address before them. Mr. Taliaferro's ad- 
dress was eloquent, wise and most profound, and gave these 
college secret societies much prestige. 

President Burleson had encouraged their organization, 
thinking they would result in only good to the members, but 
thev assumed an attitude toward student life, that did not im- 

Dk. Rtjfus C. Burleson. 151 

press him very favorably. At the opening of the session of 
1855, he delivered a lecture before the students on the sub- 
ject of such organizations, which embodied some of his settled 
policies for the government of schools. This lecture was 
elaborated, the subject developed, and delivered before the 
Texas State Teacher-' Association at El Paso, during the - 
sion of 189-S. This address contains so much college wisdom, 
so much college history, and is so characteristic of the man that 
we give it in full. The address is reproduced also, to show 
that Dr. Burleson at this early period in his life as a college 
I 'resident, plainly saw the evils of hazing among students 
am! he was among the first educators in America to stamp the 
practice with strong disapproval, and place it under an eternal 
ban, so far as the institution over which he presided was con- 

Secret Societies in Colleges. 

There is no question that demands the profound attention 
of educators and patriots more than the inner life and moral 
culture of our colleges and universities. After fifty-seven 
years' experience and earnesl study, I am convinced that many 
of our great universities are sowing the tares of lawlessness and 

I refer especially to the brutal habit of hazing," or drag- 
ging new students out of their beds at the hour of midnight, 
tying their hands, blindfolding them, drenching them in mud 
or water, encasing them in coffins, and other things that would 
disgrace ( 'omanche Indians. I also refer to stealing chickens 
and turkeys, robbing bee-gums, tearing down gate- and sign- 
boards, hauling away buggies and carriages, etc., which are 
tolerated and laughed at as college tricks in many of our great 
institutions. Secret societies are justly regarded as the chief 
and fountain of many of these degrading habits in college life. 
Especially as their acts are shrouded in profound darkness and 
secrecy. I remark, first, secret societies in colleges are ab- 
solutely* hostile to the true model of every college. 

Every college should be a great literary family, to guard 
and nurture inexperienced sons and daughters and prepa 
them for the struggles and joys of life. The President and 

152 The Life and Writings of 

every teacher should be "in loco parentis," and should guard 
with parental tenderness every student, rich and poor, in sick- 
ness and health, in or out of study hours. The students should 
form a great literary family of brothers and sisters. For this 
reason all true colleges are called Alma Maters, or fostering 
mothers. And every college that does not thus tenderly guard 
her students is a disgrace to the name of Alma Mater, and is 
only a step-mother, or as Horace says, Injusta Noverca. 
Everyone will see what a monster a secret society would be in 
the family. How utterly destructive it would be to all fam- 
ily relations for the father and part of the family to form 
one secret society and the mother and the remainder of the 
family to form another. But it has been argued that Masonry 
and Odd Fellows are secret societies and they confer great 
blessings on individuals. But the nature and purposes of 
Masonry and Odd Fellowship are utterly unlike secret soci- 
eties in colleges. Their great object is to protect their mem- 
bers among strangers even in foreign lands. And to protect 
the widows and orphans of deceased brethren. And these 
noble societies when thus conducted, separate from church 
and State, become a blessing. But secret societies in colleges 
can have no such purposes. College boys are not expected to 
wander far away among strangers and have no orphans and 
widows to protect. Secret societies are as useless appendages 
as the fifth wheel of a wagon. Not only useless but liable to 
entangle and upset the wheels that are necessary. Every col- 
lege student knows that societies separate and apart from the 
regular class room, to draw students closer together and discuss 
freely literary topics, are essential and form an oasis in col- 
lege life. These societies give the college student all the 
social enjoyment and literary culture he needs and has time 
to enjoy. But secret societies always impair and often destroy 
the usefulness of the regular literary societies. 

The origin of secret societies in America will indicate 
their nature and purpose. Thomas Jefferson introduced in 
William and Mary College, Virginia, the first secret society, 
called "Phi Beta Kappa." This society was imported from 
skeptical France. And the three Greek letters are indexes of 
three Greek words for "Philosophia biou kubernetes," and 
means philosophy is the guide of life. 

Dr. Kufus C. Burleson. 153 

France was at that time preparing to banish or burn the 
Bible, and wished to introduce into all colleges the infidel 
notion that philosophy and not the Bible was the guide of life. 
The next secret society was introduced in Yale in 1780, and 
the third in Harvard in 1781. The names as well as the 
origin bear the taint of skepticism. The names of many of 
the secret societies indicate their degrading tendency. The 
following are examples, "Skull and Bones Society," "Skull 
and Key Society," "Spade and Grave Society," "Ax and 
Coffin Society," "Owl and Padlock Society," "Skull and Ser- 
pent Society." But it may be said that all these arguments 
are a priori and not conclusive unless sustained by experience 
or a posteriori. We therefore confidently appeal to facts 
and experience as reported by the greatest educators and insti- 
tutions of America and Europe. Before giving the expe- 
rience of great men and institutions I would be glad as a Texan 
to introduce my own humble experience. When I became 
President of Baylor University, forty-seven years ago, it was 
strictly ''universitas in ovo." No library, no apparatus, no cur- 
riculum of studies, no college classes, no literary societies. It 
became my duty to map out everything essential for the foun- 
dation of a great university. In performing this arduous duty 
I sought the advice of the greatest educators in America, such 
as Dr. Francis Wayland, Dr. R. E. Pattison, Dr. Howard Mal- 
come, Dr. Basil Manly and others. In this earnest examina- 
tion of everything essential for laying the foundation of Bay- 
lor University on a solid rock, the subject of secret societies 
was discussed. After the most exhaustive examination, I 
decided secret societies were injurious to colleges, and refused 
all the importunities for their organization. But after several 
years, one of the most learned professors was an ardent friend 
of secret societies and plead that all the greatest colleges in 
America and Europe had them. And that Baylor University 
could not take rank unless she followed the example of these 
great institutions. Finally some leading trustees and patron3 
joined in the pleading of the professors and students for secret 
societies. I concluded it better to allow them to make the 
experiment. Two secret societies were immediately organ- 
ized and pressed with great enthusiasm, to the injury of the 

154 The Life and Writings of 

two literary societies thai bad been doing noble work. Soon 
the bitter fruits I predicted were realized. There were more 
heart-burnings, secrel whisperings, and conflicts among ou? 
students than had ever been known in Baylor University. 

Some of my dear students became greatly offened with 
me because it was whispered I was partial to one of these socie- 
ties. When, indeed, I had nothing to do with them, except 
to counsel moderation and good order. 

These bitter strifes came very near breaking up one of 
the best graduating classes we ever had. Fortunately, about 
this time I, with the other teachers and professors, decided to 
move to Waco, and establish Waco University. The three lit- 
erary and three secret societies resolved to go with us. For- 
tunately the managers of the secret societies in USTew England 
that granted the charters demanded that they be returend to 
Baylor University, at Indepenlence, and they would gladly 
give us charters for societies in our new university at Waco. 

We returned the charters, as requested, but I declined 
ever to inaugurate a secret society in any college where I pre- 
sided. I would not ask vou to ask or even to consider my 
experience if I stood alone. I beg you to hear the experience 
and the facts, as reported by the greatest institutions and 
educators in America. 

In 1873, Dr. Hitchcock. President of Amherst College, 
after a long experience in regard to the evils of secret societies, 
sought their removal. In this arduous struggle he addressed 
letters to the presidents of all the colleges in New England, 
to get their opinion in reference to such organizations. All 
responded. The first said : 

"Could these societies be wholly removed from our col- 
leges, I would think it a result in which the friends of learn- 
ing would have great occasion for rejoicing." 

The second said : "As soon as the faculty ascertained 
that secret societies were in existence, they ordered their stu- 
dents to break off connection with them." 

The third said : "We are unanimously and decidedly of 
the opinion that it would be desiarble to have all secret societies 
rooted out of our colleges." 

Dk. Rufus C. Burleson. 155 

A fourth said : "I have made one, nay, more than one, 
ineffectual attempt to rid this college of secret societies." 

A fifth said: "I suppose that it would be desirable that 
.secret societies be rooted out of our college-.'* 

A sixth said: "I am of the opinion that the tendency of 
such societies is bad of necessity." 

The seventh said : 'Their influence was not suspected at 
first, but found to be bad, and nothing but evil results are 
likely to follow." 

Only two new college presidents in New England were 
found to be favorable to secret societies, and while the leading 
presidents of New England colleges were thus expressing 
themselves, Dr. Crosby, Chancelor of the University of New 
York, and Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presby- 
terian Church, in 1873, published an article, assigning various 
conclusive reasons why secrel societies should not exist in 

Princeton, in "New Jersey, issued an order abolishing 
eleven secret societies from that institution. But not only 
individuals, but great universities have made similar declara- 
tions. In 1874 the Executive Committee of the National 
( Ihristian Association sent requests to 245 American college-, 
in twenty States, to obtain their positions on secrel societies in 
colleges. Reports were received from twenty States, and 
forty-eight colleges. All expressed decided opposition to such 
organizations, except three, a military school in Vermont, one 
in Alabama and one in Mississippi. Time and space allow 
ns to give only a few samples of these utterances of great insti- 
tutions. Yale College, New Haven, said "that there are 

that they accomplish i g I is equally clear." McKen- 

lous evils connected with secret societies cannot be questioned; 
dree College, Lebanon, Ohio, says: "We consider secret 
societies a damage to the public societies and tending to form 
cliques among students and' in no way promoting of scholar- 
ship." Union Christian College, Merom, says: "We are 
the uncompromising foes of secret societies in any form." 
Eminence College, Kentucky: "We tolerate n cie- 

ties." Clinton College, Mississippi: "No - >cieties] 

have -ever been organized in this college till last year: we have 

156 The Life and "Writings of 

taken measures to prevent it making any progress, and it "will 
soon die out." Oberlin College : "]STo secret society has ever 
existed here." Mary ville College, Tennessee : "We believe 
secret societies are fraught with mischief and should be dis- 
couraged in our institutions of learning." Secret societies 
have also been condemned at Harvard, Princeton, Union, Jef- 
ferson and West Point. From all these expressions of our 
greatest educators and institutions of learning, we may justly 
conclude that secret societies, though possessing peculiar fasci- 
nation to young minds, will prove injurious to the best inter- 
ests of our colleges. And I trust that all the members of the 
Texas Educational Association will give this question earnest 
attention, and remove everything from our institutions of 
learning that will be injurious to the youth of Texas; and also 
adopt every means and use every power to cultivate and de- 
velop all that will enoble and develop the sons and daughter? 
of our Empire State." 

In the preparation of this work we here depart from our 
plan in following . : n Dr. Burleson's footsteps as far as possible, 
in order to make a connected story of the war he inaugurated 
at this early time in his college experience against the practice 
of hazing among students, and anticipate his career in other 

A great majority of the college presidents in the United 
States were unalterably hostile to the practice, but were pessi- 
mistic as to the success of any plan for its suppression. 

A distinguished journalist had just returned to the Xorth 
from a visit to Texas, in 1872, and found a bad state of affairs 
existing at Harvard, Yale, Cambridge, Princeton and some 
institutions on account of this outrageous practice. The presi- 
dents of these Schools were unreserved in their condemnation 
of the practice but said it could not be prevented, and quietly 
submitted. This journalist, who was in close touch with these 
officials, replied : 

"This is a iniot^ke. Hazing, and every other form of 
outlawry among students, can be prevented. I have just 
returned from a visit to Texas, and there I found on the bor- 
der of civil i' v tion, JJr. P. C. Burleson, at the head of a univer- 
sity of 7" , students, among whom, for forty years, there has 

Dr. Kufus C. Burleson. 157 

never been but one cas- of hazing. To this be applied heroic 
measures; he outhazed the hazers so badly that the practice 
ceased at once." This statement was widely published in the 
Northern press, attracted the attention of those having the 
control of great institutions of learning in hand; as a result 
of which, the Executive Committee of the National Educa- 
tional Association addressed Dr. Burleson a letter inquiring 
if the statement was true. He answered that it was, and was 
invited to deliver an address before the association in St. Paul 
in 1873 on this subject. 

The invitation was accepted, and Dr. Burleson was intro- 
duced to 8,000 teachers by the presiding officer of the associa- 
tion as the first college President in America that had suc- 
ceeded in eradicating this relic of barbarism from the school 
over which he presided. Prominent educators from Canada 
were present during the sessions of the St. Paul convention, 
and were so much impressed with Dr. Burleson's methods of 
preventing this practice that he was urged to discuss the same 
subject before the Canadian Teachers' Association at Toronto 
in 1875. This invitation was also accepted; the address deliv- 
ered. A chord was struck that vibrated through all educa- 
tional circles in America, and, while it has not resulted in 
removing hazing, and kindred reprehensible practices, from 
the student population of the land entirely, has resulted in a 
perceptible diminution of these so-called sports. 

158 The Life and Writings of 


Dr. Burleson's Foresight Predicts Future of Texas am) 
Baylor University in a Letter to His Brother Rich- 
ard in 1854 Creation and Criticism Similarity 
and Dissimilarity Between R. C. and R. B. Burleson 
-Baptism of General Sam Houston Baptistry of 
Independence Church Coffin Shaped Filled With 
Logs Place Changed Description of this Historic 
Spot Photographed for the First Time, for This 
Volume, by Thomas A. Holland. 


X THIS, as well as in all the past ages of the work!. 
men haYe lived who were splendid logicians when 
the affairs that had already transpired were under 
discussion. It is not difficult for a man of average intelli- 
gence to perform something that has been done under his own 
eve. Men marvelled when Columbus announced that he 
could stand an egg on its end; but all could do the same thing 
with as much ease as Columbus after he had shown them how. 

Great battles have been fought in which great mistakes 
were made. Men of a very low order of military genius can 
see the mistakes after the fight is over and lost. The finest 
preachers sit in the pew; provided they are judged by the 
readiness with which they point out the defects in the sermon 
after it has been delivered. 

The best musicians are never in the choir, because the 
least discord could have been prevented, if the leader had con- 
sulted some one in the congregation, after the song had been 



De. Rl ITS ( '. Btjeleson. 159 

Here is a building of magnificent architectural skill, but 
it is faulty. These faults could be detected by people who 
could not "saw a scribe" after the house had been finished. 

( 'reation and criticism are very different propositions. 
Creation looks forward; criticism looks backward. 

What we have learned by observation and experience, 
and what we know by prescience are vastly different processes 
of acquiring knowledge. 

It is an easier matter, in 1901, to see that Texas is a great 
country, and Baylor University a great institution of learning, 
than to have foreseen these things fifty years ago. 

Dr. Burleson was gifted with foresight, and saw, in 1851, 
what Texas and Baylor University would be to-day, and, for- 
tunately for his forethought, he drew a pen picture of present 
conditions, in a letter to his brother, Richard B. Burleson, 
which is reproduced : 

Independence, Texas, February 6th, 1854. 
Mr. B. B. Burleson, Decatur, Ala.: 

Deae Beothee Early in life, when our heart- were pure, 
and our hopes were bright, we often expressed a desire to each 
other to live, love, labor and die together. This was also the 
ardent wish of our sainted mother. But for many years thesi 
hopes have been darkened, and I fear these former desires have 
grown cold, but heaven knows not on my part. 

l\o\v I offer a test to see how the case stands with you. 
You are naturally fond of mathematics; that professorship is 
now vacant in Baylor University; the salary after this year 
will be $1,000, one-third to be pa ; d in advance. If you will 
accept the position, it shall be yours at the end of 1854. 

You have so entirely misconceived, and have formed such 
erroneous impressions of the real conditions and future great- 
ness of Texas that you will probably regard this offer as a 
small affair, but if you live ten years, you will see Texas the 
New York of the South, and Baylor University the brightest 
ornament of Texas. 

In one of Your former letters you spoke of Texas as a 
wild, savage country.. My dear brother, there arc more 
learned men, classic scholars, regular graduates in Union Bap- 

160 The Life aistd Writings of 

tist Association, than you are aware of. Bro. Huckins is a 
graduate of Brown University. Brethren Baines, Maxey and 
Cleveland of Alabama University. Bro. Creath of Richmond 
College. Prof. Stiteler is a graduate of both Pennsylvania 
University and Hamilton Theological Seminary. Bro. 
Graves, the first President of Baylor University, a graduate 
of the University of North Carolina and also of Hamilton 
Theological Seminary. 

Brethren Baxter, Baylor and Chilton are not graduates, 
but are men of extensive information, and the two last named 
were distinguished Congressmen. Bro. Baylor is now a great 
Judge, as well as Baptist preacher. 

Our laity are proportionately intelligent. 

You may ask how is it that I hold such a prominent posi- 
tion among such men? Well, I assure you it is not from supe- 
riority, but from my sleepless vigilance and untiring energy. 
I have traversed the whole State, and know every prominent 
person in our church. 

I also see the wonderful possibilities of the country. 


The prospect of our institution is fine. We will have not 
far from 250 students in both departments this year, among 
whom will be seven or eight young ministers. * * * * 
Please write me immediately. 

Your affectionate brother, 


These brothers were near the same age, born in the same 
place, and were so intimately associated in childhood, boy- 
hood and manhood that something more than a passing notice 
of Dr. Richard B. Burleson is deserved. 

He was born near Decatur, Alabama, January 1st, 1822. 
His boyhood was spent amid the active duties of his father's 
plantation. He received his academic preparation from his 
mother, and at the country schools conducted in the commu- 
nity. The natural bent of his mind was toward a military 
life, and his early preparation was made with this end in view. 
He received from the Representative in Congress from the 
district in which he lived in North Alabama, the appointment 

Dr. Rukls ( '. Burleson. 


to a eadetship in West Point Military Academy. Capt. Jona- 
than Burleson, his father, however, induced hiin to decline the 
appointment, in favor of the son of a widowed neighbor. The 
young man in whose favor he withdrew was General James 
G. Longstreet, one of the most renowned commanders in the 
Confederate army in the war between the States. 

Richard entered Somerville Academy, where he pursued 
a course of instruction for one year. In 1840 he entered 
Xashville University, at Nashville, Tennessee, completed the 
course in three years, and graduated with honor. 

In 1839 he was converted, and received the ordinance of 


baptism at the hands of Rev. W. II. Holcombe. In 18 11. 
while a student in Xashville, ho was licensed to preach by the 
First Baptist Church, of which Dr. R. B. C. Howell was pas- 
tor. In 1842 his ordination was called for by the church at 
Athens, xVlabama. He accepted the pastorate, and served the 
church with marked satisfaction for two years. 

He was called to the care of the church at Tuscunibia in 
1845, where he remained until 1849, when he was elected by 
the Trustees, President of Moulton Female Institute, which 
position he filled for six years. This institute was raised to a 

high standard under Prof. Burleson's wise management. 


162 The Life and Writings of 

He was called to the pastorate of the Baptist Church in 
Austin, Texas, in 1855, and conducted a female school in that 
city in 1856, while filling the pastorate. In December, 1856, 
he was chosen by the Trustees of Baylor University, at Inde- 
pendence, on the recommendation of his brother, Professor 
of Moral and Mental Philosophy and Belles-Lettres. This 
professorship he held until 1861, when he was elected Vice- 
President of Waco University and Professor of Natural 

In 1875 he was appointed to a position on the Geological 
Surveying Corps by Gov. Richard Coke, but resigned at the 
expiration of the first year of service, and, returned to hid 
former position in the faculty of Waco University. He died 
December 21st, 1879. 

An unqualified endorsement is placed on the following 
estimate of his character, taken from a "Brief History of the 
Burleson Family." 

As a teacher, thousands can testify that his zeal, ability, 
punctuality and conscientiousness were never surpassed. 
Neither private interest, nor rain, nor heat, nor bodily pain 
ever detained him from the post of duty for twenty-three 
years. The great success of Baylor and Waco Univer- 
sities is due in eminent degree to his management of their 
internal affairs, while his brother, Dr. Rufus C. Burleson, 
watched after the financial and general interests abroad. 
Teaching and his classes had become a part of his being. 
Nothing was more affecting during his long and painful suffer- 
ing, especially in a feverish, dreaming state, than to call a 
class roll of fifteen or twenty, and go through whole lessons 
in his favorite sciences, geology, botany and astronomy, often 
mingling with the exercises his tender admonitions to the 
tardy, and his commendations to the diligent. Who can tell 
the power of a life so conscientious and devoted ? It is need- 
less to state, in regard to one so widely known, that Prof. 
Burleson was no ordinary man, this having been abundantly 
evinced in a public career of nearly forty years. To talents of 
a high order were added wealth and family influence. A bril- 
liant future, so tempting to youthful ambition, was opened 
to him. But to be useful to, not to gain the applause of, his 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 163 

fellowman; to serve truly his day and generation, inspired his 
ambition and determined his life-work. Convinced before he 
had reached his majority, when, as yet, most young men of 
his talents are dazzled by visions of pleasure or prospects of 
ambition, that his noble and unselfish purpose would be most 
successfully achieved by devoting himself to the ministry and 
the instruction of the young, his resolution was formed. It, 
was no idle resolve. It was a life purpose. Every other con- 
sideration was made subordinate. It absorbed all the energies 
of his being; was pursued with an ardor that suffered no remis- 
sion, and which only the cold breath of death could chill. Of 
his character as a preacher, it may be stated that no one could 
listen with the least attention to his preaching without taking 
away with him the conviction that he was eminently thought- 
ful, intellectual, profoundly learned in his profession, 
intensely in earnest; that his pulpit instructions were not 
merely perfunctory, to gain applause or benefit himself, but 
free from every taint of modern skepticism, so common with 
the most intellectual class, even in the pulpit; that his teach- 
ings were the outgrowth of convictions that controlled his will 
and governed his own life. 

As an orator, his style was gentle and persuasive, logical 
rather than impassioned, his manner graceful and impressive. 
These qualities, energized by great earnestness and zeal, light- 
ing up and adorning his manly features, and teeming from 
his fine, penetrating eye, though they might not always con- 
vince, never failed to fix the attention and win the admiration 
of his hearers. But, as an educator, he was pre-eminent. 
His methods were absolutely his own original as original 
as the epic of Homer, the orations of Demosthenes, or the 
allegory of Bunyan. Intellectually, it were not difficult, per- 
haps, to find his equal; but morally, his peers among living 
teachers are probably few. 

Perhaps the most characteristic peculiarity about him, as 
a teacher, was his rare power of analysis, enabling him to fix 
the attention of the learner successfully upon each phase or 
part of his subject, until he had mastered the whole. To this 
quality he added in a most eminent degree, a modest, concen- 
trated earnestness, begetting a gentleness of manner that 

164 The Life and Whitings of 

( ndeared him to his pupils. His teaching, free from every 
appearance of levity and trifling in matter and manner, im- 
pressed the hearer with a deep sense of the value and impor- 
tance of his instructions. Gentle, earnest, dignified, and in 
love with his work, he never failed to win the affections of his 
pupils, and to inspire them with his own love and thirst for 

His intercourse with his fellowmen was charactrized by 
frankness and candor. His diffidence amounted, sometimes, 
to what seemed to be lack of self-assertion. He died as he 
had lived, his last days being characteristic of his long life of 

At the meeting of the Board of Trustees of Waco Uni- 
versity, held in 1875, the degree of LL. I), was conferred on 
Professor Burleson. In conferring the degree the Trustees 
stated, u as a scholar and educator Dr. Richard B. Burleson 
was in everv way worthy of this eminence and distinguished 

The similarity in the career of these two brothers is most 
striking, and their course in life so much alike that it makes 
scarcely more than one foot-print. 

They were born in the same place, with only eighteen 
months difference in their ages. Both received primary 
instruction at home. Both attended Somerville Academy 
and Xashville University. They were converted about the 
same time, baptized by the same minister, and united with the 
same church. Both were licensed to preach by the same 
church in Xashville, under the pastorate of the same man. 
Both filled pastorates and taught early in life. Both came 
west, were connected with the same school, one as President, 
the other as Vice-President. Both died in the same city, and 
sleep in the same cemetery. Added to all this, there was a 
most marked and striking personal resemblance between them; 
so much so, that one was frequently mistaken for the other. 

ISTotwithstanding all this, and all these points of resem- 
blance, in temperament, disposition and character, they were 
as unlike and dissimilar as any two men who ever lived. One 
was an optimist, the other a pessimist. One was hopeful, the 
other despondent. One was fired to redouble his efforts in the 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 165 

face of opposition, the other quailed before it. One scaled 
mountains, the other traversed valleys. An incident in their 
lives, when mere boys, illustrates this difference in their 

During one of their rambles in the forest, near the 
Burleson home on Flint river, these boys became bewildered. 
They tramped through the forest for hours, and the more they 
traveled the more completely they lost their bearing'. Around 
and around in a circle they walked, over hill, through swamp, 
thicket and jungle. Both became tired, footsore and hungry. 
Xo familiar spot was found, and nothing noticed by which 
thev could take correct reckoning and strike a course for 

Finally, discouraged, disheartened and despairing, Rich- 
ard said : "Rufus, we are lost, hopelessly lost, in this forest. 
I can go no farther. Let us lie down beside this tree and die, 
and thus end our suffering and misery.'-' This proposition 
startled Rufus, who felt the situation t& be desperate, but with 
that resolution that characterized every relation in life, he 
answered : 

"Why, Richard, no; let us press on, and we will reach our 
home in safety." 

These boys did press on, and early the following morning 
a friend was met on one of the thoroughfares in the county, 
who picked up these bewildered and tired boys and carried 
them to their homes, ten miles down Flint river. So it was 
all through life. Richard said, "we can't;" Rufus said, "we 
can and will." 

Notwithstanding these points of resemblance and dis- 
similar elements, as contradictory as it may seem, and para- 
doxical as it may appear, both succeeded in everything 
undertaken and in every affair of life. 

It was November 19th of this year ( 1854), while tilling 
the pastorate of the Independence Church, in connection with 
his duties as President of the University, that Dr. Burleson 
administered the ordinance of baptism to General Sam 
Houston. This became a historic event, and was ever afterward 
one of Dr. Burleson's most pleasant memories While serving 
as pastor of this church, Dr. Burleson had a baptistry made in 


The Life and Writings of 

the bed of Kountz Creek, north of town, in the shape of a 

Since baptism, the word of God taught, was designed to 
typify, in part, a regenerated soul buried to sin, he contended 
that this style of baptistry was a beautiful observance of the 
eternal fitness. of things that ministers of the gospel should not 
fail to note. In this place he baptized a large number of the 
students of Baylor University during his pastorate, hundreds 
of whom will feast their eyes on the picture presented in this 
volume, and will recall many occasions of spiritual rejoicing 
experienced around this place of hallowed recollections. 


When it was announced that General Houston was to 
receive the ordinace at this place, some mischievous boys went 
the night before and filled the baptistry with mud and tree 
tops. The sexton went down in the morning to see that the 
pool was in order, came back very much distressed, and 
reported to Dr. Burleson that the baptistry was full of mud, 
and that it could not be removed in time for him to use it that 
evening. "Very well," he calmly replied, "I will outgeneral 
these mischievous boys from the country, and baptize the 
General in Little Rocky." The change was announced at the 

Dr. Rufits C. Burleson. 167 

service that morning, and a great concourse of people was 

It was no ordinary occasion. ISTo man in the United 
States, i^orth or South, was more in the public eye than Gen- 
eral Houston. He was severely wounded in the battle of 
Horseshoe Bend, and distinguished himself for valor in the 
war of 1812. He served one term in Congress from Ten- 
nessee in 1823, and was elected Governor of the State in 1827. 
He was a member of the convention that promulgated the 
Declaration of Texas Independence, March 2d, 1836, and 
moved the adoption of the report of the committee appointed 
to prepare it. He took his rifle in one hand, a pen in the other, 
and affixed his name to that document. He was elected Com- 
mander-in-Chief of the Texas army, and was the hero of the 
battle of San Jacinto. He was twice President of the Repub- 
lic, after the liberty of the people had been achieved, and 
twice Governor after the State was admitted into the Union, 
and served also three terms as Representative of the people in 
the United States Senate. We repeat, this was no ordinary 
occasion, and Dr. Burleson's experience, one of the rarest in 
the history of any minister. 

It is not extravagant to say, for simple beauty, a more 
lovely place could not be found in all Texas in which to admin- 
ister the ordinance of baptism to this old hero, patriot, states- 
man and humble Christian. 

It has undergone no changes in all these years, except a 
large cedar tree that stood near has been felled and removed. 
The limpid waters of Little Rocky come purling over beds of 
clean gravel, white flat rock, through masses of luxuriant 
lillies and cress, and pour over a rocky precipice five feet high 
and form a segment-shaped pool of foaming water twenty feet 
in diameter. At the south end of this beautiful pool there is 
a bank of rich earth, sodded with bermuda grass and studded 
with wild flowers. This bank bisects the current, and the 
water flows out in two streams, making an island of it, and 
forming a long lake 100 feet below. The finest old live oaks 
in all the wide world stand at intervals on the bank, sheltering 
full-uddered kine, which, with the sparkling water, rocky 


The Life and Writings of 

ledges, green sward and masses of lillies, make this historic 
spot a landscape of indescribable beauty. 

The picture presented of this place, as well as the tomb 
of Judge R. E. B. Baylor, and the baptistry of the Indepen- 
dence Church, were specially made for this publication by 
Mr. Thomas A. Holland, an accomplished artist of Brenham, 
and these photographs are the first ever made of these historic 
spots. J. T. Hairston and Harry Haynes, the two gentlemen 
seen in the picture of the place where General Houston was 
baptized, were present as boys, and both eye-witnesses to 
the baptismal scene, over forty-seven years ago. 

Here Dr. Burleson Immersed a Large Number of Students and Other 


Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 169 


Baylor University From 1855 to 18G0 Brilliant Fac- 
ulty Impressions Made on the Character of the 
Students A Personal Testimony Independence a 
Small Village Boarding Facilities Inadequate 
Discontent Among Students President Burleson 
Erects a Three-story House, Two-story Annex- 
Assumes a Heavy Financial Obligation Disastrous 
Drought in 1857 Affects Attendance Recupera- 
tive Powers of Texas Storm of September 8th, 

J^ FRIXG the sessions of Baylor University from 1855 
CSS? to 1860, Dr. Burleson's duties as President were 
^r P strenuous and his resourceful character taxed to its 
last limit. 

The faculty was composed of the following professors : 

Rev. Rufus C. Burleson, A. M., President, and Professor 
of Moral Philosophy, Belles Lettres and Spanish. 

Rev. Richard B. Burleson, A. M., Vice-President, Profes- 
sor of Xatural Science and Political Economy. 

David R. Wallace, A. M., M. D., Professor of Latin. 
Greek and French Languages. 

Oscar H. Leland, A. B., Professor of Mathematics, 
Mechanical Philosophy and Astronomy. 

Louis Franke, A. M., Professor of the German Language 
and Literature. 

Professor James L. Smith, Principal of the Preparatory 

Professor William II. Long, Tutor. 


The Life and Writings of 

Rev. Frank Kiefer, Professor J. W. ^Yillrick and Charles 
T. Kavanaugh and S. G. O'Brien were also teachers during 
the time. 

This statement is intended to be by no means invidious, 
but a more brilliant corps of teachers and accomplished schol- 
ars, were never marshaled in any institution in Texas for the 
instruction of the young. 

All had won college degrees in the best schools in the 

Dr. R. C. Burleson. Prof. R. B. Burleson. Prof. D. R. Wallace. 

Prof. O. H. Leland. Prof. J. L. Smith. Prof. G. W. Willrick. 


country, except those in charge of the Preparatory Depart- 
ment, and carried with them into their recitation rooms a 
degree of earnestness and enthusiasm rarely equalled. More 
can be said of these teachers; they impressed the dignity of 
their characters upon the pupils, and aroused a spirit of 
studiousness and ambition that led them to aspire to higher 
planes, and to attain to the greatest excellence in every avoca- 
tion and profession in life, of which they were capable. 

Dr. Kufus C. Burleson. 171 

This author wishes here to add a parenthetical sentence, 
and tender his thanks, and express his undying appreciation 
for the influence made upon his boyish character and life by 
the lofty example of these teachers. It was felt at the time, 
and abides more brightly in the meridian of life. 

The members of this faculty not only formed a splendid 
teaching force, but they were also disciplinarians, and rendered 
the President valuable service in the enforcement of law and 
the government of the university and reduced lawlessness 
and disorder in the student body to a minimum. 

To be sure, there were cases requiring discipline, but the 
offenses were of a harmless nature, and for the amusement of 
the students, and intended as no kind of indignity to the 
President of any member of the faculty. 

Independence at that time was one of the most delightful 
towns in the State. Many of the wealthy families of Texas 
had moved to the place and settled, on account of the relig- 
ious, educational and social advantages offered. The town, 
however, was small, the number of boarding students very 
large, and lodging and table accommodations entirely inade- 
quate. ~Not only was President Burleson confronted with 
this difficultv, but the Universitv building was more crowded 
than the boarding houses. On account of these desiderata 
there was much discontent among the students. Many had 
intimated that, unless more comfortable boarding places could 
be secured and more commodious and suitable recitation 
rooms provided, they would be compelled to return to their 
homes, and arrange to attend some other institution. 

This was a crisis in the history of Baylor University. 
President Burleson realized that the grievance of the students 
was just, their demands reasonable, and that something must 
be done to relieve the tension of the situation. He laid the 
matter before the Trustees, who were convinced of the neces- 
sity for more room, and took immediate steps to provide it. 
They erected a two-story stone building, 40x80 feet, which, 
with the two-story building erected in 1849, was ample for 
present demands in this direction. 

The situation, however, was only partially relieved. The 
students must not only have rooms in which to recite, but they 

L72 The Life and Wbitings of 

must have somewhere to live. Both President Burleson and 
the Trustees made many unsuccessful endeavors to induce 
some capitalist to erect a large boarding house, to meet the 
other necessitous features of the situation. 

Failing in this, Mr. Burleson resolved to do so himself. 
To raise the money to enable him to execute his purpose, he 
mortgaged land inherited from his father's estate, and built a 
three-story house, octagon-shaped, with three- story galleries 
running entirely around it. This building contained twenty- 
five large rooms, each capable of accommodating four young 
men. In the center of the octagon, a large, stone stack chim- 
ney was built, giving a fireplace to each room. 

These, with the six rooms in his residence, gave him 
thirty-one rooms. He could thus accommodate nearly one 
hundred boarders, which, with those scattered around town, 
made it easy for all the students who came from a distance to 
find comfortable quarters. The President then announced, 
in a spirit of triumph, that Baylor University not only boasted 
of having the finest faculty of any institution west of the 
Mississippi River, but commodious school buildings, a good 
library, philosophical apparatus, and ample boarding accom- 
modations, and unsurpassed facilities of every kind. 

All this had its effect, and students came thronging to 
Independence from almost every settled county in Texas, and 
from Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and one from 

Three other buildings, 16x32 feet, for study and recita- 
tion rooms, were also built. Air. Burleson's expenditure, in 
making all these needed improvements was about $16,000, and 
absorbed his entire patrimony. In thus tiding the institution 
through a crisis, the result added gloriously to the cause of 
education in Texas, but entailed a heavy financial burden on 
him, from which he never fully recovered. In addition to the 
ordinary, or, rather, it should be said, extraordinary, demand- 
made on the financial resources of one occupying the foremost 
position among the Baptists of Texas, he had from that da\ 
on, for many years, a heavy interest account to meet annually. 

But for the great wisdom displayed by President Burle- 
son, in providing for the necessities of the institution, and the 

Dr. Rufus C. Burlesox. 173 

financial sacrifice made to do so, Baylor University might have 
had a gravestone to mark its last resting place, instead of an 
ascending star. 

This tremendous sacrifice was not appreciated then, and 
it is feared has not been appreciated since. Since some of 
those for whom it was made, and who were its greatest bene- 
ficiaries, were among the first to denounce him as "a miserable 
financial failure," and persecute and pursue him, in his embar- 
rassed and crippled financial condition. 

Men who had made comfortable fortunes out of his heroic 
self-abnegation, and gave their children the opportunities for 
a finished education by the facilities he provided, and who 
should have been on their knees at his feet offering him thanks 
as their benefactor and deliverer, instituted suits against him 
on open accounts for insignificant sums. 

During the year of 1857 the prosperous condition of the 
school was somewhat interfered with and attendance reduced 
from the effects of a drought unprecedented in the history of 
the State. Very little rain fell from January to December. 
Xo part of Texas was exempt from the disaster. Both the 
corn and cotton crops were complete failures; and as cotton 
was the chief reliance of the people for money, some of the 
students were withdrawn from school by their parents, and 
others, who had contemplated sending their children were 
unable to do so. 

All the water courses dried up, springs stopped flowing, 
and water for man and beast became very scarce. Grass was 
burned to a crisp, and stock suffered and died in large numbers 
as a result. The earth became so dry that it cracked and 
gapped to such an extent that travel was unsafe. All the corn 
consumed by the people for bread and other purposes was 
imported at a tremendous cost, and in many communities sold 
at two and three dollars per bushel. The meager resources of 
the people being thus exhausted in providing the absolute 
necessities of life, tuition fees could not be collected, and the 
President and factulty were all seriously embarrassed. 

An end to this disaster, however, was not long deferred. 
Copious rains came in time for the planting season of L858. 
This revived the drooping spirits of the people, and enabled 

1 74 The Life and Writings of 

Copious rains came in time for the planting season of 1858. 

No country on the continent possesses greater recupera- 
tive powers than Texas. Disasters of every name and nature 
may roll over it, paralyzing every business and industry ; condi- 
tions may be untoward to-day, but to-morrow the business 
horizon will brighten, and all with the people and country is 

The story of the memorable storm that devastated the 
Gulf coast on the 8th of September, 1900, furnishes the most 
recent instance of the recuperative character of the country. 
Desolation and ruin was left in its wake, evidences of which 
would now be hard to find. The beautiful city of Galveston 
was torn, and left in piles of unsightly debris. One year after- 
ward the restoration and rehabilitation was almost complete, 
and the city, in many respects, far exceeded its f ormer beauty 
and magnificence. 

Baylor University not only recovered from the disasters 
of this fearful misfortune, but President Burleson and the 
Trustees went on from victory to victory, planning for 
improvements and enlarging their scope of operations. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burlesox. 175 


Facilities of the University Enlarged Departments of 
Law and Theology Established -Address of Judge 
James Jeffries Faculty of the Law School Rem- 
iniscences Theological Department Assumed No 
Great Proportions on Account of the War Between 
the States. 

|ePARTMENTS in Law and Theology were estab- 
lished during these years, and conducted with much 
satisfaction and success, especially the Department of 
Law. The Law Faculty was composed of Hon. R. E. B. Bay- 
lor, LL. D. ; Hon. R. T. Wheeler, LL. D. ; General John Sayles 
and Colonel William P. Rogers. Of the qualifications of 
these professors, it is enough to say that Judges Baylor and 
Wheeler had been members of the Supreme Court of Alabama 
and Texas, General Sayles an author of high standing, and 
Colonel Rogers one of the most eminent members of the 
Texas bar. 

This department enrolled thirty-three students in 1858, 
and issued diplomas to a graduating class of thirteen that year. 
This class was composed of the following young attorneys : 

John Alexander, Charles R. Breedlove, Thomas J. 
Brown, W. F. Ewing, Thomas J. Goree, B. C. Hardin, 
Thomas B. Haynes James Jeffries, John W. Metcalf, A. E. 
Morriss, William H. Parks, John G. Walker, Leonard W. 

The President advocated the establishment of the Law 
Department before the Board of Trustees, and hence, while 
reserving no authority as to the course of instruction pre- 

lTii The Life and Writings of 

3cribed, or teaching himself, was careful to specify that the 
department would lie- subject to the same government as the 
Literary Department of the University. 

X<> law student was, therefore, allowed to use, as a bever- 
age, any distilled or intoxicating liquor, or to visit any places 
where they were retailed, or to engage in hazing or nocturnal 
disorders, or to visit taverns, stores or other public places in 
town, except on suitable occasions. 

Xo law student was permitted to carry or keep in his 
room any pistol or other dangerous weapon. All card playing 
whatever was forbidden, as well as any games of hazard. 

Any law student, it was ordained, who shall violate any 
of the college laws or regulations, or be otherwise guilty of 
ungentlemanly conduct, to be judged of by the Faculty, will 
be liable to be dismissed, it being deemed unfit that any one 
should be admitted to the society and companionship of stu- 
dents, whose conduct is not exemplary, or be educated for the 
practice of an honorable profession who does not maintain the 
character of a gentleman. 

Course of Ixstructiox. 

The course of instruction in the Law Department of 
Baylor University was designed to give a practical legal 

Instruction was given by means of lectures, text-books, 
examinations and Moot Courts. 

The lectures were designed to give a knowledge of the 
present state of the laws; particularly of whatever is peculiar 
to the local jurisprudence of Texas. 

Designated portions bf Ithe 'text-books were assigned 
daily, upon which the students were examined. The subl 
jects of study were so ordered as to give an acquaintance with 
every branch of legal science. 

Moot courts were conducted under the immediate super- 
intendence of the Professors. Cases were stated and assigned 
"by them, and the students devised cases and remedies, and 
instituted and conducted suits through their several stage-. 
from the commencement in the District to a final hearing and 
decision in the Supreme Court. Juries were impaneled, wit- 

Dk. Rufus C. Burleson. 177 

nesses examined, questions of practice, pleading and evidence 
argued and decided in the District Courts. Cases removed 
by appeal or writ of error to the Supreme Court, and argued 
orally and by brief, in the same manner as in the courts of the 

Written opinions were delivered by the students upon 
cases stated, and dissertations read by them upon designated 

The students were classified as juniors and seniors. Those 
who had attended one session and read during the interval, 
or who had read the text-books required in the course, and 
who on examination by the professors were found sufficiently 
advanced, constituted the Senior Class. 

The degree of Bachelor of Laws was conferred only upon 
the unanimous recommendation of the professors of this 
department, and on those students only who had attended two 
entire sessions and studied diligently during the interval, or 
one session after having read the text books required in the 
course, or an equivalent, and who were habitually studious, 
moral and exemplary, and who on examination were found 
worthy of the honor. 

Both classes attended all the exercises in common. 

No previous professional reading or proficiency was 
required for admission. 

Students were to provide themselves with the following 


Junior Class Blackstone's Commentaries (designated 
portions only to be used), Kent's Commentaries, Stephen on 
Pleading, Greenleaf on Evidence, vol. 1, Texas Practice. 

Senior Clas? Kent's Commentaries, Stephen on Plead- 
ing, Greenleaf on Evidence, Parsons on Contracts, Story's 
Equity Jurisprudence, Texas Practice, Texas Pleading, Texas 
Codes, Hartley's Digest. 

Seniors intending to commence the practice of the law 

were recommended to procure, for reference and study, the 

following books in addition to those required in the course: 

Story on Promissory Notes, Byles on Bills and Notes, Parson's 

Mercantile Law, Story on Partnership, Story on Agency, 

178 The Life and Writings of 

Edwards (or Story) on Bailments, Grant of Corporations, 
Story on the Conflict of Laws, Pathier on Obligations, 
White's Kecapitulation, Jarman on Wills, Williams on Execu- 
tors, Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Wharton's American Crimi- 
nal Law. 

This 'Department of Baylor University, succeeded beyond 
the most sanguine expectations of its projectors, and warmest 
friends. Unfortunately most of the graduates enlisted in the 
armies of the South, in the war between the states, and either 
died in camp of disease, or were killed in battle before they 
had become established in the practice. But it can be said of 
them, that a more thoroughly grounded, better prepared, and 
promising class of young lawyers, were never certified to prac- 
tice from any law school in the union. Those who escaped 
unscathed the horrors of war, have since filled the highest 
positions on the bench, and at the bar of Texas, and other 

Mr. James Jeffries, an alumnus of this department was 
invited by Dr. Burleson, to deliver an address before the 
students and friends of the University in 1895, and his ad- 
dress is so full of valuable historical facts, and interesting 
reminiscences of the School of Law connected with Baylor, 
that copious extracts from it are used in this connection : 

"At Independence I met Dr. Burleson for the first time. 
The Doctor has always lived in my memory as one of the 
most polished of men and eloquent speakers. I was always 
glad when circumstances brought me into his presence, and I 
attended church whenever he preached. 

I was a young man and the bright eyed beauties from the 
female college on the hill may have been an additional attrac- 
tion, but the sermons were enjoyed, some of the sentiments 
live with me still and have done me good. Dr. Burleson has 
been spared to a ripe age, and who can estimate the effect here 
and hereafter of the seed which he has been permitted to sow. 
May his presence and influence continue to give strength and 
power to the school he so much loves, for many years to come. 

The law class was small and we were soon all acquainted 
and got down to hard work. 

T could say a great deal about that class; I formed there 

Dr. Eufus C. Burleson. 179 

some of the warmest attachments of my life. There were no 
disagreeable men among them, and not one who could not 
have made his mark as a lawyer, but alas ! 'the number was the 
unlucky number of thirteen and many of them are dead; 
among the living Dr. Parks went into a higher profession, 
the Ministry, and no doubt realizes the wisdom of answering 
such a call in the satisfaction of a higher and wider influence 
for good. Goree became one of the most noted Prison Super- 
intendents of the United States, and is now one of your most 
admirable and respected citizens ; Brown, our close and logical 
student, who went into the interior of every subject, after ac- 
quiring reputation and fame at the bar, has reached the goal 
of the aspiring lawyer, a place of hard work on the Supreme 
Bench; Breedlove, our persuasive advocate, continues to make 
people and juries believe he is right. I have felt how hard 
it was to resist his eloquence when he was certainly wrong. 
Alexander is still at the bar, hard working and conscientious 
as ever, and for a number of years, district attorney and county 
judge of Burleson county. 

If others are living they have been lost to me in the march 
of the years. 

I didn't of course, know much about Law Schools in those 
days, but in the light of a large experience since, I know now 
that that school afforded as fine opportunities for acquiring a 
knowledge of the law as any school established since or before. 

Our professors believed in the practical application of the 
principles they taught us, and we soon had organized moot 
courts, where cases were tried, with our grave and able pro- 
fessors as judges, taking cases from our District Court through 
all the stages to final determination in the Supreme Court. 

There was a good deal of floundering, of course, in the 
beginning, but it was not long before we were fighting mimic 
battles with as much seriousness and interest as we have ever 
fought the real battles of life, and before we had graduated 
we were reasonably prepared for our supposed life work. 

I doubt if Mr. Justice Brown or Brother Breedlove ever 
made better arguments than some of those made in our mimic 

In looking over some old papers not long since, a mis- 
cellaneous collection of letters, some of them reminders of the 

180 The Life axd Whitings of 

follies which go along with the wisdom of youth and keep up 
the balance so that we may not appraise ourselves too exorbit- 
antly high bills and other matter interesting at one time, I 
found several cases presented by Judge Wheeler for written 
opinions, and was really astonished at the impudence and legal 
acumen exhibited by myself at that early day. Unfortu- 
nately many of us start out at a pace which astonishes our 
friends, both at start and finish. 

It is astonishing how precocious some youths are, and how 
the years deaden and bring things down to the true level. 
Ah, the dreams of youth, success, fame, "a dear girl's love,''' 
fortune, but in that dream the courage, will power, and 
patient toil, needed for success, does not play an important 
part and even all these virtues do not always insure the ful- 
fillment of our dreams. 

Is there a mysterious something which men of the world 
call ''luck?" and Christians give another name, w T ho can tell? 
but there is no royal road to success, and plodding toil is the 
only way we know, and that, most of us do not relish, mental 
labor is the hardest of all labor, the most exhaustive and the 
mind is restive of discipline. 

Our professors were all men of mark and high standing. 

They not only taught us well, but in their own lives set 
before us the highest standards of life. 

First on our list of professors was 

Judge Baylok. 

To have known him was never to forget him. He was 
unique, with the courtliness and instincts of the cavalier, he 
combined bon homme, which made him the idol of the com- 
mon people. 

He was full of quaint and humorous sayings, and his 
chuckle was most infectious. He did not lecture often, but 
his occasional visits brought with them the sunlight. He was 
fond of quizzing, and I well remember the joy I felt upon one 
occasion when in his quaint and peculiar way he asked Mr. 
Jeffries, "what kind of a writ is a writ of sciery fiery enquiry." 
He had no idea that I had ever heard of this old English writ, 
but bv the rarest chance I had been attracted bv the name a 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 181 

few days before and made the old gentleman open his eyes 
by a full and correct account of it. 

One of the greatest treats of my life when a boy, was to 
sit open-mouthed and hear him read his charge to the grand 
jury, at the semi-annual courts held in the town where I then 

They were treatises upon both the criminal and the moral 

In connection with the sale of whiskey without a license 
with what emphasis he would say, "Gentlement of the grand 
jury, I would not stand behind a bar and deal out death and 
damnation by the half pint for a pile of guineas as high as the 
seven stars." 

The judge was a good man, and an incorruptible judge, 
exercising a powerful influence for good in a new country. 

He was a Christian who often went into the pulpit to 
testify for his religion. He has gone to his reward. 


Col. Wm. P. Rogers was our eminent professor of Crim- 
inal Law. His name is now the heritage of Texas. Like 
the heroic Garnett who upon one of the most fateful field- 
in history, fell in front of the foremost rank, marking the 
high tide of the Confederacy, Rogers upon another fateful 
field fell at the front covered with glory. The white wings 
of peace have rested upon our united and beloved country for 
more than a quarter of a century, the acrimony which engen- 
dered and survived our civil war is now happily a memory, and 
unpatriotic would be the voice, that would make it more, but 
I hope the day will never come in Texas, when her youth will 
cease to revere and honor the patriots who inspired by high 
devotion to duty, counted their lives as nought, cheerfully 
suffered privations and performed deeds of heroic valor, which 
entitles them to affectionate remembrance so long as heroism 
lives upon the earth. I hear that an effort is being made to 
place a monument over the remains of this gallant soldier, 
and hope that Texas will honor herself by carrying it to com- 
pletion. This dead lawyer and soldier, having played well 
his part in life and being enshrined in the hearts of his sur- 

182 The Life and Writings of 

vivors, who honor him in his life, and in his death, needs 
nothing from us, but as the tender memorials of the Saints 
touch the heart of the world and point the way to Heaven, 
so the monument to the heroic dead, keeps alive the spirit of 
the hero, a spirit which ought never to die, and fires the heart 
of the young patriot for deeds of heroic virtue. 

We honor ourselves and discharge a duty to posterity 
when we erect our Pantheons. We are all touched by them, 
I never look upon the figure .of the brave and gentle Lee in 
New Orleans, standing in majesty, breasting the storm, as his 
noble soul breasted the storms of fate, far above the roar and 
rattle of commerce, and the every day affairs of life, without 
a thrill of emotion, which represents the better part of my 
nature. Let us honor our heroic dead. 


John Sayles, the law writer of Texas, taught us the prin- 
ciples of practice. He was a painstaking and thorough in- 
structor. Mr. Sayles led, to my mind an ideal life at the time; 
he easily held the position of the best practitioner in that part 
of the state, and while he was not a man of the people, his 
commanding ability gave him an immense and lucrative prac- 
tice; he resided at his handsome country seat and with a gen- 
eral library, the most complete which I had then ever seen, 
he devoted his time to study, legal and literary, only absent- 
ing himself when in attendance upon the courts. 

Mr. Sayles was not only a great lawyer, but a man of 
literary acquirements and of high character, and was most 
helpful to the young men with whom he came in contact; 
he was most kind to me, inspiring a taste for the better liter- 
ature, as well as for the law, and I have never ceased to re- 
member him with affectionate regard. He is one of the law- 
yers of Texas who will leave an indelible impress upon, and 
will live forever in her jurisprudence. 


The professors named came to us weekly, but the teacher 
upon whom the burden and work fell, was Royall T. Wheeler, 
then and for many years before and after a judge, and chief 

Dr. Ruftts C. Burleson. 183 

justice of the supreme court. Judge Wheeler was a mosr 
conscientious and competent instructor, and had the happy 
faculty of clear presentation as a lecturer, his examinations 
were thorough and he came nearer to Theodore W. D wight, 
the ideal law professor, than any other I ever knew. 

Texas was peculiarly fortunate in having so many men 
of genius and character, as citizens and leaders of the days of 
her infancy. Hemphill, Lipscomb and Wheeler, her first 
supreme judges were eminently fitted for the great work they 
performed in building up her superior and equitable system 
of jurisprudence. 

Houston, Rusk, Roberts, Henderson and other famous 
men, also shed light and lustre upon the early history of 

It would be impossible to estimate the value of the influ- 
ence of Wheeler, a young Vermont lawyer, upon the hetero- 
geneous mass of men, who in wild and exciting times had by 
their valor freed themselves from Mexican rule, and had be- 
fore them the task of resolving this chaotic population, repre- 
senting humanity in its original elements, into formal and or- 
derly government. The leaders did their work well, and well 
at the front was young Wheeler. 

His personality would have marked him in any assem- 
blage. With great suavity of manner, he had still something 
of the Puritan in his composition, and was unfaltering in his 
adherence to principle and was full of that high courage which 
impels men to stand for the right at whatever risk and cost. 
He was a great and good man, to whom Texas owes a great 
debt. He was my friend and it gives me great pleasure after 
he has rested for so many years under your soil to pay this 
humble, sincere, but imperfect, tribute, to his worth and char- 

Theological Department. 

I. A. Fortune, W. W. Harris, Pressley CVKief, H. F. 
Pahl, J. Pruett, C. H. Schmeltzer, M. M. Vanderhurst. and 
D. 1ST. Wheat, had been pursuing a course of study, and pre- 
paring themselves for the ministry, under the immediate direc- 
tion of Dr. Burleson for some time, but no department for 
ministerial training had been provided for. 

1 ~- 1 The Life and Writings of 

At a meeting of the Baptist State Convention, held in 
A\' ;ic-< in 1859, the subject of a Theological Department for 
the University was one of the subjects that engaged the atten- 
tion of that grave and learned body. The result of that dis- 
cussion was a recommendation to the Board of Trustees to 
investigate, and inquire into the advisability and practicability 
of opening a Theological Department, on a permanent basis 
at an early date. 

The Board took the matter up at once and acted favorably 
on the recommendation of the Convention. 

The plan which was most acceptable to the friends of 
ministerial education and training, was to secure the services 
of two learned and pious Theologians, to spend three months 
in the University during the sessions, and deliver courses of 
lectures on Systematic and Pastoral Theology, Homiletics, 
Biblical Interpretation and Church History. The sessions of 
the Theological Department were expected to embrace the 
winter months, when the least work was done by the preachers 
of that day owing to the scattered condition of the churches, 
and their consequent inaccessibility during bad weather. 
This would also enable young pastors and missionaries to at- 
tend the lectures. 

It was not the intention, so President Burleson stated, to 
establish this department on so extensive a scale as the South- 
ern Baptist Theological Seminary, but to adopt a model that 
could ultimately be developed into the plan of the Theologi- 
cal Department of Union University, Nashville, Tennessee, 
where ministers from age or other causes are prevented from 
pursuing a more extended course. It was decided that this 
department, and these lectures would only be open to young 
ministers, who had been licensed by their churches to preach 
the gospel. 

The desire of the president and the intention of the Trus- 
tees was executed in December, 1860, and this Department 
of Baylor University formally launched; but did not assume 
any great proportions, on account of the Civil War. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 185 


Legal Relations of Baylor University to Texas Baptist 
State Convention Committee Report An Exhaus- 
tive Discussion Logical Presentation Conclusions. 

HE Union Association being the mother of the Texas 
cation Society being the mother of Baylor Univer- 
Baptist Education Society, the Texas Baptist Edu- 
sity," the Texas Baptist Education Society having been merged 
into the Baptist State Convention, there was much discussion 
had from 1848 to 1859, as to the moral and legal relations 
sustained by the University to the Convention. To put this 
question at rest, the Convention at a meeting held at Inde- 
pendence in 1858, adopted the following resolution: 

"Resolved, That a committee be appointed to consider 
the legal relations between this Convention and Baylor Uni- 
versity, and submit a report upon this subject." 

The committee appointed under this resolution consisted 
of H. Clark, chairman, H. Garrett, R. C. Burleson, W. A. 
Montgomery and C. R. Breedlove. T|he committee made its 
report at the next session of the Convention, held in Waco, 
October 25th, 1859. It is exhaustive, logical and complete, 
and embodies Dr. Burleson's views on this subject so clearly, 
that while it covers some ground already gone over, notably 
the origin of Baylor University, it is given in full. The re- 
port is also reproduced, since the positions presented as to the 
relations between the University and Convention, have been 
handed down as expressions of the Supreme Court of Texas 
upon the questions discussed. 

186 The Life and Writings of 

Report on the Legal Relations of Baylor University to 
the Baptist State Convention of Texas. 


Union Association, the first Baptist association organized 
in Texas, was constituted at Travis, Austin county, October 
8th, 1840. It embraced three Baptist churches, viz : The 
church at Travis, the church at Independence and the church 
La Grange. Connected with these churches were three minis- 
ters and fifty-three communicants. 

Its next session was held at Clear Creek, Fayette county, 
on the '7th day of October, 1841. It now embraced nine 
churches and three hundred and eighty-four communicants. 

At this session a resolution was adopted recommending 
"The formation of an Educational Society." This recom- 
mendation was responded to by the formation upon the spot 
of the "Texas Baptist Education Society." 

The object of this Society was declared in the Constitu- 
tion to be, "To assist in procuring an education for those young 
men who give evidence of being called of God to preach the 
Gospel, and who shall have the approbation of their respective 

The 11th Article of its Constitution provided, that "Any 
individual of good moral character might become a member 
of the Society by signing the Constitution; 'but in no case," 1 
says the Article 'can he become a member of the Executive 
Committee, unless he is in communion with some regular 
Baptist church.' " 

The first officers of the Society were, R. E. B. Baylor, 
President; S. P. Andrews, Recording Secretary; Wm. M. 
Tryon, Corresponding Secretary; Bro. Collins, Treasurer; 
and James Huckins, J. L. Farquhar, Gail Borden, Z. 1ST. Mor- 
rell, Stephen Williams, Bro. Ewing and J. S. Lester, Man- 

In the year 1845, this Society procured from the Con- 
gress of Texas a Charter for a Literary Institution. In their 
petition to Congress they requested that the name and style 
of this institution of learning should be Baylor University, 

Du. Rufus C. Burleson. 187 

in honor of Hon. R. E. B. Baylor, the first President of the 
Society, and then and now an ordained minister of the Gospel, 
in the Baptist church. They also requested that a board of 
fifteen persons should be appointed, to take the general super- 
vision of the Institution, to receive in trust all moneys and 
effects that they and others might contribute for its foundation 
and maintenance, and to be invested with the corporate powers 
usually bestowed in such cases. 

In order to secure the administration of the trust, in 
accordance with their views and wishes, they designated by 
name, which, as the founders of the trust, they had the legal 
right to do, the persons who should constitute this board, and 
twelve of the fifteen were communicants of the Baptist church. 

In order to secure a perpetuity of such an administration, 
viz : An administration that should carry out the views and 
wishes of the founders, they furthermore requested, that the 
power of filling vacancies that should occur in this board, by 
death, resignation, or otherwise, should be reserved unto, and 
vested in, the Executive Committee of the Texas Baptist Edu- 
cation Society, which committee was composed of those only 
"in communion with some regular Baptist Church." 

All these conditions, together with others of less import- 
ance, in a legal point of view, were incorporated in a Charter, 
granted by the Congress of the Republic of Texas, and ap- 
proved February 1, 1845. This Charter was accepted by the 
trustees named therein, and Baylor University became an 
actual existence, and the Trustees thereof a body corporate, 
possessed of all the franchises, powers, privileges and immuni- 
ties usually bestowed upon corporations of this kind. It was 
opened for the reception of pupils, at Independence, in May, 
1846, and, under the wise provisions of its founders, and the 
faithful administration of its trusts, has continued in success- 
ful operation until the present time. 

It has now a trust fund in lands, buildings, endowments, 
subscriptions, apparatus, &c, of about sixty -five thousand dol- 
lars; with fourteen professors and teachers in both depart- 
ments and an aggregate of about two hundred and seventy-five 

In October of the year 1847, Union Association, the 

188 The Life and Writings of 

mother of the Education Society which founded the Univer- 
sity, directed the opening of a correspondence with other 
Baptist associations, and with ''as many Baptist churches as 
practicable," to ascertain their views in regard to the formation 
of a Baptist State Convention. This correspondence resulted 
in the assembling of delegates from twenty -three churches, 
at Anderson, Grimes county, on the 8th of September, 1848, 
and then and there was organized the present body the 
Baptist State Convention of Texas seven years after the or- 
ganization of the Education Society, and three years and eight 
months after the incorporation of the University. Up to this 
time four vacancies had occurred in the Board of Trustees, 
three by resignation and one by death; which vacancies had 
been filled by the Education Society in the exercise of her legal 
right. But now, the Education Society, deeming the Conven- 
tion a more suitable depository of this trust, it being not only 
exclusively Baptist in character, and having education for its 
object in part, but being likewise an organization co-extensive 
with the state, and affording a probability amounting to cer- 
tainty, of being able to exercise this important power in per- 
petuity, made overtures to the Convention, at its second session 
in 1849, respecting the transfer of this power to this body. 
The Convention responded by appointing a Committee of Con- 
ference an understanding was affected the Education 
Society agreed to surrender her power the Convention agreed 
to take it. An pplication was made to the Legislature by a 
joint committee for the necessary change in the charter, and an 
amendment was granted at the session of '49-' 50. This 
amendment was accepted de facto by the trustees, and became 
a condition of their corporate existence; since which time all 
vacancies in their Board have been filled by this body. 

Intention of the Founders. 

We now proceed to inquire respecting the intention of 
the original founders of the Institution. 

Intention may be expressed or implied. For the ex- 
pressed intent we examine the charter, and find it to be the 
establishment of an "institution of learning." For this pur- 
pose all necessary powers are bestowed upon the Board of 

De. Rufus C. Buelesox. 189 

Trustees. They are made capable of receiving money, lands 
and other valuable effects, for the purpose of promoting the 
interests of the University. They have the power of erecting 
buildings, of appointing all necessary officers, of prescribing a 
course of study, of making laws for the government of the 
Institution, and, in short, of doing whatever may, in their 
judgment, be necessary for the maintenance of an institution 
of learning. To this extent their powers go, and at this limit 
they stop. 

But this expressed intention of the founders of Baylor 
University is not the only one that we have to consider. 
There is an intent to be implied from facts and circumstances 
existing at the time of its foundation, and that have been 
brought to view in the historical part of this report; and let 
it not be supposed that an intent implied from facts, is nec- 
essarily attended with any less degree of certainty than if 
expressed in words. Every jurist knows the weight that at- 
taches to testimony furnished by facts. It sometimes out- 
weights the testimony of living witnesses. Cases involving 
the lives and liberty of men are daily decided upon a sound 
and discriminating interpretation of the language of facts. 

AVe affirm, then, that the facts which have been brought 
to view, conclusively show that the founders of Baylor Univer- 
sity, not only intended to establish an institution of learning, 
but an institution of learning under the supervision and con- 
trol of Baptists, and one which should remain under such 
supervision and control so long as it maintained a corporate 

Your committee would call particular attention to the 
argument upon this point, more especially for the reason that 
the mind of the denomination has been unsettled, upon the 
ground that Baylor University is in no proper sense a denomi- 
national institution, and, therefore, not worthy of its confi- 
dence and support. 

A writer in the Texas Baptist of April 2 2d, 1858, uses 
the following language : 

"If we send agents to collect donations for Baylor Uni- 
versity calling it our College the Institution of the denomi- 
nation some good brother will give a large donation or 

190 The Life and Writings of 

bequest to the Baylor University. His heirs will presently 
claim this donation or bequest, on the ground that the deceased 
supposed the University to belong to the denomination; but 
that the property of Baylor University belongs to the Trustees 
or to the State of Texas, and that the denomination has no 
power over it ; that, therefore, the Trustees have raised money 
on false pretenses, (?) and consequently the bequest should 
be void and thirty thousand dollars should revert to the lawful 

Notwithstanding the confusion of ideas that is manifest 
in this extract, it had, in connection with other productions 
from the same pen, no little influence in unsettling the mind 
of the denomination, in regard to the real condition of the In- 
stitution and its real relation to the denomination; a fact, 
however, not surprising when we reflect that the subject 
treated of lay beyond the usual topics of investigation, and 
was one upon which most men had bestowed but little reflec- 

What, then, are the facts which authorize us to infer, a 
'priori, and with a certainty that excludes every reasonable 
doubt, that it was the intention of the founders of Baylor 
University, to establish an institution of learning that should 
be and should forever remain under the supervision and con- 
trol of Baptists ? 

First The founders themselves, were Baptists, acting 
together in an organization, styled "The Texas Baptist Educa- 
tion Society," the object of which was declared by the Con- 
stitution to be, the education of young men for the Gospel 

Among these founders, a ruling spirit, the head and right 
arm, was Wm. M. Tryon, than whom never lived one more 
devoted to the vindication of those principles that distinguish 
the Baptists as a denomination. These men, thus organized, 
and for such an object resolve to establish an institution of 
learning. ]STow, they either intended to establish a Baptist 
institution or they did not. If they did not, one of two things 
is true. They either intended to establish an institution that 
should be under the control of some other denomination than 
the Baptists, or they intended to establish an institution with- 

De. Rufus C. Burleson. 191 

out any denominational or religions character. That Baptists 
should attempt to establish an institution of learning to be 
controlled by any other denomination than their own, or that 
men of piety should wish to establish one from which all re- 
ligious influences should be removed, are suppositions too 
irrational to be for a moment entertained. There remains, 
then, but the conclusion, that their intention was to establish 
a Baptist institution. But an intention creates nothing 
action is necessary; if, then, the acts of the founders harmonize 
with this supposed intention if the measure they adopt are 
calculated to realize it the character of their intention is es- 
tablished beyond the possibility of a doubt. 

The resolution being formed to establish an institution of 
learning, the Education Society appointed a committee to 
memorialize Congress for a charter. This committee consisted 
of J. G. Thomas, R. E. B. Baylor and Wm. M. Tryon. It is 
their right, as founders, to name those who shall take its inter- 
ests in charge, hold its property and manage its internal affairs. 
They name fifteen persons, a large majority of whom are 
Baptists. They do not stop here. Vacancies must, in the 
nature of things, occur in this Board of Supervisors. They 
request Congress to reserve unto a body, exclusively Baptist, 
viz : The Executive Committee of the Education Society, the 
sole power of filling all such vacancies. 

Here, then, is an institution of learning, brought into ex- 
istence by Baptists, placed under the supervision and control 
of Baptists, with a provision for the perpetuity of this same 
supervision and control unaltered in its character. 

This is enough to establish the intentions of the founders 
and to fix the denominational character of the Institution. But 
this is not all Baylor University was established in Texas in 
the infancy of society. After the lapse of years and the de- 
nomination had increased in numbers and influence, the Bap- 
tist State Convention of Texas was formed. The Education 
Society again manifests the character of its intentions, the 
steadfastness of its purpose and the purity of its motives. She 
desires to link her yet tender offspring with a bond of mutual 
dependence and support still more closely to the denomination. 
She sees in this Convention a fitting depository of an important 

192 The Life and Writings of 

trust. It is an organization the most general in its character 
that our church polity admits of, and is co-extensive with the 
State itself. There is an assurance of her ability to exercise 
this trust in perpetuity, and her denominational character h 
a sufficient guarantee that she will so administer it as to pre- 
serve the denominational character of the Institution. The 
Education Society confers with the Convention their views 
and wishes harmonize the Legislature is memorialized, and 
an amendment to the charter is procured, removing the power 
of filling vacancies from the Executive Committee of the 
Texas Baptist Education Society and vesting it forever in the 
Convention. The amendment might have been rejected by 
the Board of Trustees. It was their legal right to do so if they 
saw proper; but they promptly accepted it, and manifested 
their desire, also, to be drawn into as intimate a connection 
with the denomination as possible. 

Your committee then submit, that Baylor University, 
having been founded by Baptists, with the intention of main- 
taining it under the control of Baptists, being now under the 
control of Baptists, and having the power of filling all vacan- 
cies in the Board of Trustees, vested in the Baptist State Con- 
vention of Texas, is strictlv and essentiallv a denominational 
institution. Your committee are unable to conceive of any 
possible conditions that would render it more so. Baptists 
planted it, and Baptists have nurtured it, prayed for it, labored 
for it, given to it their influence and their means; and Bap- 
tists have reaped and are reaping the fruit of their toils and 
self-sacrificing labors, in the education of their sons and 
daughters, in its high character as an institution of learning, 
and in the bright prospect that seems opening before it. 

Much of the discussion that has arisen respecting the 
relations of Baylor University to the denomination, has been 
founded in an entire misapprehension of what constitutes a 
denominational institution. It is not essential to a Baptist 
institution that the title to its property be vested in the de- 
nomination; this cannot be done without incorporating the de- 
nomination an act without a precedent and utterly im- 
practicable. xTor is it necessary that the denomination should 
have the power of directing the management of its affairs. 

Dr. Kufus C. Burlesox. 193 

This power resides, in all such corporations, in its Board of 
Trustees, as an inherent right, and cannot be removed even by 

The denominational character of an institution is not in 
any sense determined by the tenure by which its property is 
held. In all private eleemosynary corporations the property is 
vested in a Board of Trustees, who hold it for the purposes 
specified in the charter, and from which purposes they have no 
power to divert it while the denominational character of the 
institution is determined by the denominational character of 
those who gave it birth, reared it, nurtured it, control it and 
reap its benefits. 

Baylor University as a Corporation. 

Your committee have thus far considered Baylor Univer- 
sity only in a denominational point of view, and they think 
they have shown that, in this respect, it is entitled to the con- 
fidence and worthy of the continued support of the denomina- 

We now proceed to consider it from a legal point of view, 
as a corporation or body politic, in order to ascertain its char- 
acter as a depository of trusts, and the grounds there are for 
believing that the benefactions of its friends will be applied 
to and held in perpetuity for the objects which the Institution 
was established to promote. 

The nature of corporations, their powers and liabilities, 
will of course be examined only so far as is required by the 
objects we have in view. 

In order not to extend this report to too great a length, 
we shall give authorities upon the most important points only; 
remarking, however, that the authority for any legal doctrine 
or principle we may advance, will be furnished to any one who 
feels an interest in verifying it. 

"A corporation is a franchise possessed by one or more 
individuals, who subsist as a body politic under a special 
denomination; and are vested by the policy of law, with the 
capacity of perpetual succession, and of acting in several re- 
spects, however numerous the association may be, as a -ingle 
individual. (II. Kent, p. 267.) 


194 The Life and Writings of 

"An eleemosynary corporation is a private charity con- 
stituted for the perpetual distribution of the bounty of the 
founder. In this class are included colleges and academies 
established for the promotion of learning, and endowed with 
property by public and private donations." (II. Kent, p. 274.) 

A corporation being an artificial person possesses no 
powers but such as are bestowed by legislative enactment, 
excepting those that are necessary to the exercise of such as 
are expressed in the charter. (II. Kent, p. 277.) 

The charter of a corporation is, in the view of the law, 
a contract between the government and the persons named 
therein; wherein, in consideration of certain services proposed 
to be rendered to the public, the government grants to them 
certain powers, privileges and immunities; and upon the ac- 
ceptance of the charter by the persons proposed to be in- 
corporated, it is an executed contract, and the government has 
over it no further control. (Angell & Ames on Corp. Sec. 31.) 
She cannot revoke or annul, alter or amend without the con- 
sent of the corporation, unless she has expressly reserved to 
herself this right in the charter, or unless the Constitution of 
the State confers it. (The Constitution of Texas does confer 
this right but not in reference to corporations created under the 
government of the Republic. They remain independent of 
any arbitrary legislative control.) In case of a failure of con- 
sideration, if the corporation does not render to the public the 
services proposed, or transcends or misuses her powers, or fails 
to use them for the purposes designated, the State has no rem- 
edy, until she has entered the courts of law as a party to a suit, 
established the facts and procured a judgment. Then and not 
till then can she revoke the charter and can the powers granted 
revert to the government. (II. Kent, p. 305.) 

In the case of eleemosynary corporations, the founders 
of the trust are assumed to have the right to direct its dis- 
posal. The legal maxim, is, cujus est dare, ejus est disponere. 
The trustees are considered as the assignees of this right, and 
to stand in all respects in the place of the assignors. They are 
therefore bound to execute the intentions of the founders and 
are responsible for the failure to discharge the obligations of 
their trust. As a necessary consequence they have the sole 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 



196 . The Life and Writings of 

right to the management of the funds and revenues of the 
trust, subject to the jurisdiction of Courts of Chancery. Story, 
in his Equity Jurisprudence (Sec. 1191) says: "Where a 
charity is definite in its object and lawful in its creation, and 
it is to be executed and regulated by trustees, whether they are 
private individuals or a corporation, then the administration 
properly belongs to such trustees. In all such cases, however, 
if there be any abuse or misuse of the funds by the trustees, the 
Court of Chancery will interpose at the instance of the At- 
torney General or the parties in interest, to correct such abuse 
or misuse of the funds." 

Again the same author says: (Sec. 1287) "Courts of 
Equity will not only hold Trustees responsible for any misap- 
plication of trust property, and any gross negligence or willful 
departure from their duty in the management of it, but they 
will go further and in cases requiring such a remedy, they will 
remove the old Trustees, and substitute new ones. Indeed the 
appointment of new Trustees is an ordinary remedy enforced 
by Courts of Equity, in all cases where there is a failure of 
suitable Trustees to perform the trust, either from accident, 
or from the refusal of the old Trustees to act; or from their 
original or supervenient incapacity to act, or from any other 

Kent, vol. H. p. 351, says: "It is well understood that 
the Court of Chancery has a jurisdiction over charitable-cor- 
porations for breaches of trust. 

In eleemosynary corporations the visatorial power hith- 
erto incidentally referred to, is a power of so much import- 
ance as to require special attention. 

This power implies the exercise of that supervision and 
control over the disposition of the funds and revenues, and 
over all the internal affairs of the corporation that the found- 
ers themselves would employ, were they in person administer- 
ing!; their own charity. 

This power as has been already said, resides in the Board 
of Trustees. Kent, vol. II. p. 148, says : "Where Governors 
or Trustees are appointed by charter according to the will of 
the founder, to manage a charity, as is usually the case in col- 
leges, the visitorial power is deemed to belong to the Trustees 

Dr. Kufus C. Burlesox. 197 

in their corporate character." And again : "Assuming then, 
as is almost universally the fact in this country, that the power 
of visitation of all our public charitable corporations is invested 
by the founders and donors of the charity, and by the acts of 
incorporation, in the governors or trustees, who are the assig- 
nees of the rights of the founders, and stand in their places, 
it follows that the Trustees of a college may exercise their 
visitorial powers in sound discretion, and without being liable 
to any supervision and control, so far as respects the govern- 
ment and discipline of the institution, and so far as they ex- 
ercise their pow T ers in good faith, and within the limits of the 
charter. They may annul and repeal the by-laws and ordi- 
nances of the corporation, remove its officers, correct abuses, 
and generally superintend the management of the trust." 

We have now examined the nature, powers, liabilities and 
immunities of corporations sufficiently for our purpose. 

The principles we have brought to view will enable us to 
examine the charter of Baylor University with a view to deter- 
mine whether the corporation it creates, is a safe depository 
of trusts for the support and maintenance of an institution 
of learning. 

The only articles in the charter that relate to the power 
to take, to hold and to use funds in trust, are the fourth and 
sixth we give them entire : 

Article 4. "Be it further enacted, that the trustees 
aforesaid, be, and they are hereby constituted a body politic 
and corporate, in deed and in law, by the name of the President 
and Trustees of Baylor University ; and by that name they and 
their successors shall and may have succession, and be able 
and capable in law to have and receive and enjoy to them and 
their successors, lands, tenements and hereditaments of any 
kinds, in fee or for life, or for years, and personal property of 
any kind whatever; and also all sums of money which may be 
given, granted or bequeathed to them for the purpose of pro- 
moting the interest of the University. Provided, the amount 
of property owned by said corporation shall not at any one 
time exceed One Hundred Thousand dollars, over and above 
the buildings, library and apparatus necessary to the institu- 

198 The Life and Writings of 

I '}' this article it will be seen that all the estate, real and 
personal, which the Trustees are empowered to have and re- 
ceive and enjoy, is to be had and received and enjoyed, for 
the purpose of promoting the interest of the University. 

Article 6.- -"Be it further enacted, that the Trustees of 
said University shall and may have a common seal for the busi- 
ness of themselves and their successors, with liberty to change 
and alter the same from time to time, as they shall think 
jDroper; and that in their aforesaid name, they and their suc- 
cessors shall and may be able to sue and be sued, plead and be 
impleaded, answer and be answered, defend and be defended 
in all courts of law or equity in this republic; and to grant, 
bargain and sell or assign any lands, tenements, goods or chat- 
tels that may belong to said University; to construct all neces- 
sary buildings for the said institution; to establish a prepar- 
atory department and a female department, and such other de- 
pendent institutions as they shall deem necessary; to have the 
management of the finances, the privileges of electing their 
;> owners, of appointing all necessary committees, and to 
act and do all things whatsoever for the benefit of said institu- 
tion, in as ample a manner as any person or body politic or 
corporate can or may do by law." 

By this article it appears that when they grant, bargain 
and sell or assign any lands, tenements, goods or chattels that 
may belong to the University, it must be done for the benefit of 
the University. 

In connection with these powers, and the limitations and 
restrictions with which they are inseparably connected, take 
the language of Kent : "It is well understood that the court of 
chancery has a jurisdiction over charitable corporations for 
breaches of trust/' and determine whether the founders, pat- 
rons and donors of Baylor University have not the most ample 
security for the faithful administration of their benefactions. 

Objections Considered avd Answered. 

"We now pass to consider briefly the arguments that have 
tended to unsettle the mind of the denomination in regard to 
the tenure by which the Trust funds of Baylor University are 
held. Upon an application of the legal principles we have 

Dk. Rufus C. Bubleson. 199 

brought to view, we believe they will be found destitute of 
weight and not worthy of serious consideration. 

It has been urged that "the Legislature may refuse to 
renew the charter of the corporation," and the question has 
been gravely asked "If in that event the heirs of the Trus- 
tees should claim the inheritance, who would contest it." 

The supposition that the Legislature may refuse to renew 
a charter is too irrational to be entertained. Your committee 
believe it would be the first case on record, where a Legisla- 
ture, without a cause, and where all the conditions of the 
original grant had been faithfully complied with, refused to 
renew the charter of a charitable corporation. Indeed the 
writer himself admits that this, with several other cases he 
supposes, are "not at all likely to occur." In a logical point of 
view, it is unnecessary to answer objections which the objector 
himself concedes are not founded in reason. 

Nevertheless in order that there may be no objection to 
this report on the ground of a want of completeness, your 
committee proceed to reply : 

A corporation may cease to exist and from other causes 
than the expiration of its charter. Upon the judgment of a 
court of law, its charter may be forfeited and annulled. The 
constituent members of a corporation may die, and the power 
to renew may be lost ; but a broad distinction exists between a 
corporation and a trust between an incorporated board of 
Trustees, and the trust it administers. A corporation may die 
a trust never dies. That "a trust cannot fail for want of a 
trustee" is a legal maxim. If the Trustees of Baylor Univer- 
sitv should demise to-morrow, and this Convention should dis* 
solve never to assemble again, or if the charter should be for- 
feited and annulled, or expire by limitation, the law, with the 
same watchful vigilance with which it now guards the ad- 
ministration of this trust, would provide for its security ap- 
point a new trustee or trustees, and compel the continued ad- 
ministration of the charity in accordance with the intent and 
design of the founders, patrons and donors. 

Again it has been argued: "Suppose that the denomi- 
nation should wish to abolish the Law Department or establish 
a Theological Department, and that the Trustees should re- 

200 The Life axd "Writings of 

fuse by what process of law can you compel their consent." 

And again : ''Suppose the trustees should offer for sale 
the lands of the Institution, against the wishes and advice of 
the Convention by what process of law could you prevent 
the sale." 

Both these supposed cases are of those which are declared 
by the objector to be "not at all likely to occur." But for the 
reason already assigned, your committee reply : The powers 
called in question here, of directing the arrangement of the 
internal affairs of the Institution and managing its funds, in- 
here in the Board of Trustees by virtue of their visatorial 
power. They are supposed to stand in the place of the 
founders and donors and to be the assignees of all their rights 
and privileges. They are responsible for the abuse of their 
trust, and not the Convention, and so long as they keep within 
the limits prescribed by the charter, and execute in good faith 
the wishes and intentions of the founders and donors of the 
trust, there is no power that has a right to interpose. 

In view of the principle that a founder or donor has the 
right to direct the management of his benefaction, and that 
the Trustees of the fund are the sole assignees of this right, 
your committee are unable to perceive upon what principle of 
law or reason this Convention can claim the right to exercise 
the privileges of founders and donors in respect to a charity, 
founded before she had an existence and to the funds of which 
she never, as a Convention, has contributed one dollar. 

But we may fairly meet the suppositions to which we are 
responding by another. Suppose that in obedience to the com- 
mand of this Convention, the Board of Trustees should make 
such a disposition of her trust or any part thereof as should call 
for the interposition of the Court of Chancery, and, in answer 
to the summons, should plead that she had acted in obedience 
to the command of this Convention. Would the Court admit 
the plea and displace the Convention? This she must do, if 
the Convention is the ultimate authority and has the legal right 
to control the Board. But no; the answer would be, The law 
recognizes you and you alone as responsible for the administra- 
tion of this trust. The Trustees would be displaced and others 
would be appointed, who knew their duties, and would act in 
obedience to the laws of the land. 

De. Kufus C. Bublesox. 201 

Again the question is asked : "Suppose you elect a man 
to fill a vacancy, the Board may refuse to admit him on the 
ground that you have no (legal) existence, what recourse has 
the Convention ?" 

In answer, let us make the case general, and suppose the 
Board should refuse on any ground to admit your appointee 
what recourse has the Convention. We answer none. Her 
power ceases with the act of appointment. The appointee, 
however, has a remedy ample and immediate. He has, by 
reason of your appointment, become invested with a legal 
right, in support of which he can invoke the strong arm of 
judicial authority. He must enter the Court of highest ordi- 
nary jurisdiction in the State, and make a statement of the 
facts in specified form. If the Court deem him to have been 
resisted in a legal right, a writ of mandamus will issue ; which 
is a writ commanding to be done, that which of right ought 
to be done. The Board must now admit the appointee or show 
good cause why he should not be admitted. If the Court 
deem the cause sufficient, there is no remedy, and the Con- 
vention must appoint again. But if the cause is deemed in- 
sufficient, a second writ of peremptory mandamus will issue 
directed to the Board. She must then admit him or brave the 
strong arm of the law. 

The last point which your Committee propose to examine, 
is, the validity of appointments by this Convention, filling 
vacancies in the Board of Trustees. 

Upon this point your Committee have bestowed that 
attention which its importance demands; and after consulting 
the highes legal auhority they could command, they have no 
alternative but to report such appointments as strictly legal 
and valid. 

In all the authorities consulted they have found no dis- 
senting opinion. It is not considered essential to the validity 
of the act, that the Convention should be incorporated, as it 
is not an act requiring the existence of corporate powers. 

For the benefit, however, of those who think differently, 
we submit the following as conclusive, and sufficient to set 
the question finally and forever at rest. We quote from Angell 
& Ames on Corporations (p. 73.) 

202 The Life axd Wettings of 

"It is indeed a principle of law which has been often acted 
on, that where rights, privileges and powers have been granted 
by law to an association of persons by a collective name, and 
there is no mode by which such rights can be enjoyed, or such 
powers exercised without acting in a corporate capacity, such 
associations are, by implication, a corporation, so far as to en- 
able them to exercise the rights and powers granted. The 
assent of Government, in other words, to corporate organiza- 
tion, may be given constructively or presumptively and with- 
out the use of the word "incorporate." 

Your Committee further report that this appointing 
power vested in the Baptist State Convention of Texas by 
legislative enactment, is the only legal relation they have been 
able to discover existing between this Convention and Baylor 


Your Committee now submit the following as a summary 
of the conclusions at which we arrive, as the result of this 
laborious investigation. 

First That Baylor University is strictly a denomina- 
tional institution. 

Secoxd That the legal title to all its estate, real and 
personal, is vested in the Board of Trustees. 

Third That the Convention in relation to the Univer- 
sity, possesses no visitorial power. 

Fourth That the Board of Trustees of Baylor Univer- 
sity is under the strongest legal, as well as the highest moral 
obligation to use all its powers, privileges and immunities, and 
all its trust funds, lands, buildings, endowments and posessions 
of every description, for the support and maintenance of an 
institution of learning, under the control of Baptists, and that 
the law provides the most ample security for such an admin- 
istration of the trust. 

Fifth That no change in the act of incorporation can 
increase the obligations of the Trustees or make more secure 
to the denomination, the tenure by which the trust funds of 
Baylor University are held. 

Sixth That the only legal relation existing between 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 203 

the Convention and the University is, the power which this 
Convention has of filling vacancies in the Board of Trustees. 

Seventh That there is a moral relation of mutual de- 
pendence and support which makes their interests identical, 
and is a certain guarantee that they will continue to work 
harmoniously together for the promotion of learning, piety 
and virtue, so long as there are minds to be enlightened, and 
hearts to be purified, sanctified and made meet for the in- 
heritance of the saints in light. 

All of which is respectfully submitted. 

Signed by the Committee, 

Ii. CLARK, Chairman. 

204: The Life and "Writings of 


Chapel Talks Subjects Discussed Extract from a 
Student's Letter Good Impressions Made Detec- 
tive Bird Anecdotes and Incidents A Carriage 
Ride Takes a Kap Breaks Up a Turkey Supper 
A Primitive Elevator Dr. Burleson Pays a Re- 
ward for the Return of His Buggy Declines the 
Xoun Res Builds a Gymnasium Plays Hot Ball. 



T was during these years also that Dr. Burleson inau- 
gurated his Chapel Talks, and educated his cele- 
brated Detective Bird. The impression made by 
these talks upon the mind and character of the students, will 
never be effaced, and the performances of this Detective Bird 
never cease to excite wonder in their minds. 

Every morning, the exercises of the day were opened by 
reading a few verses froni some chapter in the Bible, touching 
man's obligation to God, followed by a brief prayer. Gener- 
ally, these passages were read by the Senior and Junior classes. 
They occupied front seats in the chapel, and read alternately. 
"When the lesson had been thus read, Dr. Burleson would fol- 
low with a short chapel talk. His favorite themes were, Man's 
Homogeneity, Reciprocal Relations, Mutual Dependence,, 
Community of Interest, Altruism, Duties of Life, Man's Ob- 
ligation to the "World. 

His responsibility to God, and his accountability for not 
making the best use of his opportunities in life. His resources 
in the discussion of such subjects were inexhaustible, and every 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 205 

morning some bright new thought would be presented in his 
Chapel talk, that lifted every young man in the school higher, 
and sent him bounding through the work of the day with new 
views of life, and higher aspirations and purposes. 

Of the effect produced, and the enduring impressions 
made upon the lives and character of the students of Baylor 
University, one of the finest encomiums ever pronounced was 
hy Gov. L. S. Ross in an address delivered before the Con- 
federate Veteran Association in Waco, 1894. He was Com- 
mander of the Association, an alumnus of Baylor University 
and in his annual address on that occasion declared that Dr. 
Burleson's Chapel Talks had inspired him with higher ambi- 
tion to serve mankind in some useful sphere, and gave him 
clearer conceptions of life's duties than any feature of his 
college course. He also stated that what he was, or whatever 
he had accomplished in life, was due to the impressions thus 
made. Similar statements could be given as coming from 
other distinguished statesmen, as to the value of this method of 
imparting instruction, and presenting high ideals to the young 
men whose training had been committed to his management. 

It is not asserted that the highest spheres of usefulness 
can be reached without a thorough equipment and education; 
but the opinion is ventured, based in part on personal experi- 
ence, that scores upon scores of the Alumni of Baylor Univer- 
sity have been inspired to look out, and reach up, to attain the 
highest ideals in life by these morning talks. 

fr Well do I remember the kind words spoken the last time 
I saw you in Baylor, especially do I remember your Chapel 
Talk that morning in which there was so much wise counsel, 
and such interest evinced in the moral, intellectual and phy- 
sical well-being of your students. A sense of the keenest ap- 
preciation will go with me through the remaining years of 
my life." 

Thus an old student recently wrote from a distant state. 
This chapter could be filled with extracts from letters of the 
same kind, showing the impressions made on the minds of stu- 
dents by these lectures. These exercises were not only sources 
of pleasure and profit as conducted by Dr. Burleson, but there 
was another respect in which they were valuable to the student 

206 The Life axd Writings or 

Whenever a distinguished man, in any avocation of life 
visited Independence, Dr. Burleson would have him visit the 
University, and lecture in his stead. In this way the young- 
men not only had the pleasure and satisfaction of seeing the 
leaders of thought, and controlling spirits in the affairs of both 
church and state, but of hearing them lecture on the practical 
duties of life. 

Whenever a visitor was introduced, every student in the 
Chapel would rise to his feet, make a graceful bow, and re- 
sume his seat. 

Another valuable feature of Dr. Burleson's Chapel Talks,, 
was the deep impression made on the minds of the students, 
as to the importance of a well ordered home, and the inculca- 
tion of a spirit of filial devotion. Xext to his God, he enter- 
tained the profoundest regard for the sanctity of the home, 
and magnified and exalted it on all occasions. 

If a man would but discharge his duty in the home circle, 
and prove himself to be worthy of that confidence and loyalty 
man is wont to demand as the head of the household, however 
tempestuous and turbulent life might be, his home would be 
a haven, and place of refuge to which he could flee, where 
his bark would glide serenely upon a sea of love, instead of 
being rolled and broken by restless billows. There are happy 
homes, presided over by happy wives, where cadence sings in 
unconfined, unrestrained joyousness all over Texas, and other 
states, that have been made so in part, by the impression made 
on the student's heart, by a wholesome truth uttered in some 
one of these Chapel Talks. 

Detective Bird. 

Boys have been boys in all the past ages of the world, and 
they will continue to be boys in all ages to come. Boys will 
have their fun whether in school or out of it. The boys who 
lived in Texas in the earlier times, were just like the boys 
who live in Texas now. The prairies were larger, long years 
ago when Baylor University was young, and Dr. Burleson in 
the prime of manhood; the streams clearer, the forests thicker, 
the grass taller, the wild flowers brighter, the winters were 
warmer, and the summers cooler. In all nature there have- 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 207 

come great changes; but this has not changed the boys; they 
are just the same, they loved fun then, they love it yet. The 
boys in "Baylor" formed no exception to this rule, they loved 
fun just as others. 

Another thing about boys, they are smart, and when 
they go out to have fun they are cunning and hard to catch. 
Dr. Burleson was well acquainted with this boyish character- 
istic, and while he was willing for them to have their sport, 
he wanted to know what was going on so he could keep the 
fun within the bounds of propriety. When therefore, the 
students would slip out of a window and slide down a column 
to engage in some kind of amusement, he would slip out him- 
self and try to find them. Sometimes he would succeed, and 
sometimes he failed. 

He was equal to the emergency however, and trained 
what he called his little "Detective Bird." "When the young 
men were out of their rooms," he said, "my Detective Bird 
comes fluttering to me, whispers in my ear, and tells me where 
the young men are and what they are doing." The students 
were skeptical as to whether he really had a bird so well 
trained or not, but of one thing they were quite sure, and that 
was, they could not elude detection. 

Dr. Burleson, his Detective Bird and the escapades of the 
students, forms the subject of many amusing incidents. 

A Oarriage Ride. 

When school was dismissed one Friday evening during 
the spring term of 1856, Dr. Burleson announced that he 
would drive out in the country the next morning and spend 
the day with a friend. Two of the students who were sitting 
together in the Chapel, decided as soon as they got out of the 
building, they would disappoint him in his anticipated pleas- 
ure, and have some fine sport at the same time. The plan 
adopted was to go to the barn, and pull his carriage off and 
hide it in the woods, and thus prevent him from making the 
visit. The little bird informed Dr. Burleson of the plan, and 
he concluded he would have some fun himself. He hurried 
through supper, went out, got in the carriage, and down be- 
tween the seats, and concealed himself by unrolling the 

208 The Life and Writings of 

curtains, and throwing a blanket over his body. In a 
little while the boys came, opened the door, pulled, the 
carriage out, and went off chuckling about how sadly dis- 
appointed he would be the next morning. When they had 
gone more than a mile, and were very much fatigued, Dr. 
Burleson thrust his head out at one side, and said, "Young 
gentlemen, I am very much obliged for this nice ride, and 
would suggest that you stop, and when you have rested a 
moment, you can pull me back home." 

Takes a Nap. 

In the "Octagon," which Dr. Burleson occupied as a 
residence at Independence, the rooms were large, and four 
boarders lived in each room. The four young men occupying 
one of these rooms concluded they would have a "chicken 
supper." The plan was, for three of the young men to go out 
and get the chickens, (buy them of course) while the fourth 
would remain in the room, go to bed, put out the light, and 
snore loud enough for everybody in the house to hear him, 
so as to keep down suspicion. In a little while, the young 
man left in the room became impatient, rolled out of bed, and 
went out to see what success his room-mates were having in 
buying the chickens, but he failed to find them. The Detec- 
tive Bird informed Dr. Burleson of "what was up," and he 
went to the room, got in bed and waited. In a little while 
the young men who had been out to buy the chickens re- 
turned with four, fine, fat, frying-size fowls, threw them on 
the table, "struck a light," and called to the young man in 
bed to get up, help clean and cook them. 

The consternation that prevailed in that room may be 
imagined, but not described, when Dr. Burleson rolled out, 
and said, "All right young gentlemen, if you bought those 
chickens, it will be better to wait and let Mrs. Burleson have 
them nicely fried for breakfast, but if you "hooked them," I 
would advise you to return them to the owner at once." 

Turkey Supper. 

One night in the fall of 1857, when turkeys were fat, the 
air crisp, and the appetite of students sharp, about one dozen 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 209 

of the young men in the University concluded they would 
have a great turkey supper. The Male and Female Depart- 
ments of Baylor at Independence, were situated on opposite 
hills one thousand yards apart. A beautiful brook flowed be- 
tween these hills, which Dr. Burleson christened "Jordan.'' 
The place selected for the supper was on "Jordan," about one 
mile north of town. An old colored man was employed to buy 
the turkeys, and have them at the place designated, at the ap- 
pointed time. The boys assembled, all eager for the feast. 
Some were cleaning, others were cooking, and all were talking. 
Dr. Burleson's Detective Bird had informed him of the plan 
of the boys, and he concluded to take a hand in the fun. After 
the boys had gone, he went to the place, secreted himself in a 
ravine near by, and looked and listened. They were all in a 
great glee. One of the young men remarked : 

"Boys, suppose Dr. Burleson were to slip up on us, what 
would we do ?" 

"I would catch him by the nape of the neck and sling 
him into that pool of water," one replied. 

Another one said : "I would take a piece of brush and 
fray him to a frazzle, and teach him to mind his own business." 

A third remarked : "I tell you what I would do; I would tie 
him hand and foot, take off his coat and pants, and leave him 
to spend the night on Jordan's stormy banks." 

This suggestion the crowd thought would be capital pun- 
ishment for his interference, and all roared. 

The fourth boy said: "Well, I tell you what I would 
do. I would say, Dr. Burleson, walk up and eat some turkey 
with us." 

At this juncture Dr. Burleson emerged from his place of 
concealment, and, addressing himself to the one who had last 
spoken : "Thank you, sir, as you seem to be the only young 
man here who has any politeness, I will accept your invitation. 
Turkey is my favorite fowl." 

With this he walked up. The crowd was thrown into a 
state of panic, and every one of them bounded off into the 
brush like frightened deer. Dr. Burleson left the old colored 
man who was assisting the young men in preparing the tur- 


210 The Life axd "Writings of 

keys in charge of tlie situation, and as they did not return, the 
old man carried them to his home and had a large family feast. 
Dr. Burleson usually came out victorious in these esca- 
pades with the students, 'but not always. Sometimes he was 
turned down, as the following incident shows: 

A Pelmitite Elevatob. 

The young men in the boarding house planned to play 
some practical jokes on persons around town one night, and the 
ubiquitous Detective Bird was again to the front. It was dif- 
ficult for the young men to get out of the house undetected; 
so they improvised an elevator. A rope was attached to the 
basket used for soiled clothes. One would get in, and two 
strong boys, stationed on the third gallery, would lower him to 
the ground. Several were let down in this way. Two were 
stationed on the gallery, and it was understood, when the boys 
returned after having their fun, the signal for them to be 
drawn up would be given by jerking the rope. Dr. Burleson 
went out of the back door, around the house to the basket, got 
in and jerked the rope. Instantly the boys commenced haul- 
ing him up. "When about half way, they discovered who 
it was, stopped and secured the upper end of the rope 
to the railing, and stepped back against the wall. Dr. Burle- 
son supposed they were merely resting, but in a few minutes 
jerked the rope. The elevator did not move. He jerked 
again and again, but the boys did not come. He was allowed 
to remain in this state of both mental and physical suspense for 
some time, when the boys peeped over the rail, and said : 

"Doctor, we know who you are, and do not intend to 
haul you up another inch until you promise not to give any of 
us demerit marks." 

Dr. Burleson saw he was entrapped and replied : 

"Well, boys, see here; suppose we compromise our dif- 
ferences. I tell you what I will do ; if you will pull me either 
up, or let me down, I do not care which, just so I get out of 
this basket, I will agree not to give you any demerits, if you 
will promise not to do so any more." 

The compromise was accepted, the Doctor was let down, 
though, he admitted, badly "done up." 

Dr. Rufus C. Burlesox. 211 

Pats a Reward. 

When the boarding students entered Baylor University 
they deposited all their "'pin money" with the President, and 
he returend it as their necessities required. He woke up one 
morning during the spring session of '58, and found that his 
buggy had been put on top of the Female College building. 
He was a little nonplused, but resolved to turn the joke on the 
boys if possible. He had learned from his Detective Bird 
who the boys were that had put his buggy on the college, and 
was, of course, familiar with their financial status. So he 
approached the leader in the episode, and said : "Robert, herrj 
is a bright, new ten-dollar gold piece. I will hand it to you 
if you will go over and bring my buggy home." 

Robert seized the opportunity of earning $10 so quickly 
and easily, went at once, took the buggy down, and pulled it 
home. Dr. Burleson went out, handed Robert the gold piece, 
and told him it was his own money he had been working for. 

Assists in Declining a jSToux. 

Dr. Burleson was very grave and dignified in manner, 
easy in conversation, never "spun yarns," or told "smutty 
stories," but there was a streak of original, refined humor run- 
ning through his nature which at times he seemed to be unable 
to suppress. A little incident illustrates this trait. 

In the Female Department of the University at Inde- 
pendence there was a most charming young lady whose sur- 
name was Rem. In the Male Department there was a fine 
young man whose first name was Lem, a contraction of 
Lemuel. Lem was very much in love with Miss Rem, and 
everybody in both the school and town knew it. On one 
occasion, when hearing the class in Latin grammar, Dr. Bur- 
leson gave Lem the noun Res to decline. He commenced, 
res, reis, rem. Before he could finish, Dr. Burleson inter- 
posed and continued, "found in the accusative and governed 
by Lem." 

The class was convulsed with laughter, and Dr. Burleson 
dismissed it, saying, "Young gentlemen, you can get this 
same lesson for to-morrow. 

212 The Life and "Writings of 

Dr. Burleson always manifested great interest in the 
exercises and pastime of his students. In 1858 he had erected, 
at his own expense, on the college campus a well-equipped and 
well-arranged gymnasium, for those days, where physical 
exercise of almost any kind could be taken. 

He was seen on the campus every day among the boys, 
and would occasionally take part in the games. When he 
engaged with the students in their outdoor sports he was the 
center of attraction, very naturally, and seemed to be able to 
endure any amount of punishment. 

On one occasion this writer saw him step out on the cam- 
pus at Independence, where a hundred boys were engaged in 
playing an exciting game of "hot ball," and offer himself as a 
target for the whole crowd. He was pelted a hundred times 
with solid rubber balls, and one hundred blue spots must have 
been made on his body, but he was as obdurate and unmoved 
as the sturdy live oak under which he stood while the fun was 
going on. The sport over, he saluted the boys, and bowed 
himself from the grounds, his face wreathed in smiles, when 
he was unquestionably suffering the greatest pain. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 213 


Controversy Between President Burleson and Princi- 
pal of the Female Department Called Before 
the Board of Trustees Submitted Their Grievances 
in Writings Each Appears in His Own Behalf 
Findings of the Trustees Accepted as Satisfactory 
Stringent Resolutions of the Board -High Re- 
gard of Trustees for the Heads of Both Departments 
of the School. 


E now approacli a period in the story of Dr. Bur- 
leson's life which we would prefer to avoid, the facts 
of which, however, are so far reaching as to affect 
the course of this great man, the cause of education and the 
history of Texas, that loyalty to the record and devotion to 
the truth compels their recital. 

"Washington County, from the earliest settlement of the 
country, while yet a Mexican province up to 1861, was the 
most historic of any in the State. It was in her borders that 
the first families of Austin's original three hundred colonists 
settled in 1822. It was one of the oldest provinces, municipal- 
ities and counties formed under the Mexican Government. 

It was here the Declaration of Independence was pro* 
mulgated March the 2d, 1836. It was here the Republic of 
Texas was organized March 16th of that year. It was here 
that the joint resolution passed by the American Congress, 
providing for the annexation of Texas to the United States, 
was ratified July 4th, 1845, on the sixty-ninth anniversary of 
the birth of the great Republic, and where Texas, as a nation, 
ceased to exist. It has the proud distinction of containing 

214 The Life and Writings of 

the capital of the Bepublic three times; in 1836, 1842, and in 
1845. The county was not only the center of population in 
its early history, but of wealth, refinement, education and re- 
ligion. The momentous events about to be related mark the 
decay and decline of all these interests. And while the map 
of Texas has not been changed, the center and headquarters of 
all these ennobling and elevating interests have been shifted 
to other sections of the State. 

As already seen, Baylor University was composed of 
Male and Female Departments, taught in separate buildings 
on opposite hills. Dr. Burleson was President of the Univer- 
sity that is to say, of both departments and Bev. Horace 
Clark Principal of the Female Department. He was con- 
ceded to be a man of pure life, possessed of a high order of 
wisdom and much learning, a fine teacher and a successful 
disciplinarian and manager; but, like all men modestly con- 
scions of his ability, ambitious. Some discussion was indulged 
in by the Trustees and friends of the schools as to the propriety 
of making the Female Department a distinct school and 
placing Prof. Clark at its head as President. The time was 
not ripe for this change in the genius of the institution, though 
it was eventually effected. Prof. Clark became more and 
more self-assertive, and seemed to chafe under the restraints 
of the subordinate position he held. Dr. Burleson maintained 
the dignity of the presidency, and insisted on exercising all 
the rights and authority of the position, as defined by an act of 
the Board of Trustees. 

Mild clashes and conflicts for this reason occurred. 
These conflicts increased in frequency. They not only be- 
came more frequent, but the issues more sharply defined. 
From clearly defined issues, as times passed, they became 
violent differences. From violence, the disagreements as- 
sumed an unwarranted degree of fierceness. At first the 
differences were only conflicts of authority, but soon 
they took on a personal phase. The President and Prin- 
cipal stood face to face and toe to toe, Dr. Burleson claiming, 
asserting and maintaining all his authority, and Prof. Clark 
refusing to recede one hair's breadth. The situation was 
alarming, had its effect upon the schools, and spread through- 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 215 

out the community. Mutual friends intervened for trie pur- 
pose of effecting a settlement of the differences and reconciling 
the parties, but all these worthy, disinterested efforts were 
fruitless. People in the community, as well as members of 
the denomination at large, began to take sides and become 
inflamed partisans. 

It was now apparent that a crisis was on, the welfare of 
the schools involved, and that nothing could be done except 
by the Board of Trustees interposing to the very limit of its 
authority. A special meeting was, therefore, called, and the 
situation calmly and exhaustively discussed. A committee 
was appointed by the board to interview President Burleson 
and Prof. Clark, and effect, if possible, a compromise of the 
differences, and complete reconciliation. The committee 
labored earnestly for several days to accomplish the object for 
which it was appointed, but utterly failed in its purpose, and so 
stated to the board at a session called to hear its report. A 
resolution was passed requiring President Burleson and Prof. 
Clark to reduce their grievances to writing, and submit them 
to the board, each of whom would be accorded the privilege 
of appearing for himself in support of the charges, and when 
the arguments had been heard, the charges would be impar- 
tially considered, and both parties furnished with a written 
copy of their findings and conclusions reached. 

These charges were written, as requested, and filed with 
the board at a meeting held on the 29th of June, 1860, and are 
as follows : 

Charges by Clark. 

To tlie Board of Trustees of Baylor University: 

First. I feel grieved with Brother Burleson for com- 
pelling me to arise in a religious assembly to reply to what I, 
and others, conceived to be a personal attack upon me. 

Second. I feel grieved with him in permitting a disre- 
spectful demonstration toward me on the part of students of 
the male department. 

Third. I feel aggrieved with him for permitting to be 
circulated a certain letter written to him personally many 
years ago for the purpose of inviting a reconciliation, and 

216 The Life and Writings of 

which was used not in accordance with its spirit and tenor, but 
in such a way as to place me in the attitude of an aggressor. 

Fourth. I feel aggrieved with him for publicly making 
disparaging remarks against the female department. 

Fifth. I feel aggrieved with him for not being willing 
to submit our differences to the arbitration of mutual friends. 

Sixth. I feel aggrieved with him for not manifesting 
a willingness to settle them upon a basis which I conceive to 
be mutually honorable. 

Respectfully submitted, 

Horace Clark. 

Burleson's Charges. 

First. Prof. Clark has grieved me personally. He pub- 
licly, on the night of the 17th instant, charged me with being 
the cause of the dissensions and party strife in the church at 

Second. He has grieved me by reviving a. matter fully 
settled by the Board of Trustees. 

Third. In reviving this matter, that was thought to be 
settled and buried forever, he has revived a letter casting upon 
me the imputation of insincerity and hypocrisy, and charging 
my family and friends with crimes that makes "one sick at 

Fourth. He has treated my wife and myself with disre- 
spect, in not allowing the daughters of my friends and breth- 
ren to meet a few select friends at my house. 

Fifth. I am grieved with him for using language in a 
speech before the young ladies, during school hours, calcu- 
lated to prejudice their minds against me, which he should 
either prove, or withdraw as publicly as made. 

Sixth. He has grieved me as a member of the Faculty 
in violating the solemn promise we made to the Board of 
Trustees not to interfere with the management of the 
respective departments committed to our care. He has thus 
interfered in vindicating and endorsing the course of Judge 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 217 

Wheeler in his resignation as head of the law department of 
Baylor University, and opening a law school in Brenham. 
Respectfully submitted, 

Rufus C. Burleson. 

President Burleson and Prof. Clark read their charges 
before the board, introduced evidence, and made arguments 
in support of each allegation. When they had concluded the 
presentation of their cases, the Trustees considered the griev- 
ances seriatim, Dr. Burleson's being taken up first. 

The record shows no disposal of charges 1 and 2 made 
by Dr. Burleson, as consideration commenced with charge 3, 
and by a unanimous vote advised Prof. Clark to withdraw the 
letter altogether. 

Charge fourth was explained in a manner satisfactory to 
the President and Board. 

Charge fifth was sustained so far as the fact that Prof. 
Clark did address the female department on the subject of his 
differences with Dr. Burleson, but not sustained as to the 
prejudicial effect against the male department. 

Charge sixth was disposed of by the adoption of the 
following resolution : 

Resolved, By the Board of Trustees of Baylor University, 
That we disapprove of the letter written by Prof. Clark on 
the subject of the Law School, but not attributing to him any 
design of reflecting upon the Faculty of the male department, 
as he candidly affirmed to us. 

Prof. Clark's grievances were then considered in the same 

Charge first is sustained, and the Trustees entered their 
disapproval of President Burleson introducing his school 
troubles in a religious meeting. 

Charge second was taken up, and, while it was sustained, 
the Board voted that they did not believe Dr. Burleson's con- 
duct was intentional. 

Charge third, the record shows, was passed by the Board 
without action. 

Charge fourth was sustained, and the Board expressed 
its disapprobation of President Burleson's remarks about the 
female department. 

218 The Life and Writings of 

Charge fif th was sustained, and the Board censured Presi- 
dent Burleson for refusing to submit his differences with Prof. 
Clark to the arbitration of mutual friends. 

Charge sixth was not sustained by the Board, because it 
appeared to be groundless. 

Having taken action on the grievances submitted by the 
heads of the two departments of the University, the Board 
adjourned, and reconvened on Sunday morning, July 1st, 
when the following resolutions were adopted by a unanimous 
vote : 

Whereas, We have examined the above charges sub- 
mitted by President R. C. Burleson and Prof. Horace Clark, 
and passed on the same according to their respective merits, 
after taking the testimony and hearing the defense in each 
case; now, therefore, be it 

Resolved, By the Board of Trustees of Baylor Univer- 
sity, in special session assembled, That Prof. H. Clark be 
requested to withdraw the letter addressed by him to Presi- 
dent Burleson, and that the withdrawal of said letter will be 
regarded as an honorable and satisfactory settlement of all the 
matter between them growing out of said letter, and that the 
original letter be destroyed. 

Resolved, Second, That in examining the difficulties 
between the above named brethren, while we have felt it to 
be our duty to sustain some of the charges, we say there were 
extenuating circumstances in all the cases, and none of them 
have been regarded by us of such magnitude as to involve the 
character or reputation of either, after explained, and, there- 
fore, in the adjustment we here propose to the parties, we do 
not regard either, in accepting the settlement, as compro- 
mising his honor as Christian and gentleman. 

Resolved, Third, That we have seen nothing in the exam- 
ination of the above named difficulties more dangerous and 
alarming in its bearing and influence, than the introduction 
of these troubles among the students of each department 
(while we have nothing serious to consider in what has already 
passed) we most positively determine, if for the future, the 
heads of the Faculty of either department, shall aid in, or give 
countenance. to, or shall allow unnoticed or uncorrected, any 

Dk. Rufus C. Burleson. 219 

demonstration of disrespect, of one of the departments toward 
the other, the Faculty or students, it will be regarded by the 
Board as a high offense, and will require the highest penalty 
known to our charter or bv-laws. 

Resolved, Fourth, As we have heard the complaints of 
each of our brethren and their defenses, and as we have impar- 
tially, as we think, decided on the adjustment, we require of 
the parties themselves, or through some friends, the better to 
quiet their friends and the public, and make known to the 
world the honorable adjustment of their difficulties, to use the 
first public opportunity to state, that they agree to, and will 
abide by the settlement of these troubles by the Trustees, and 
request their respective friends to act out, and make the same 
known generally. 

Resolved, Fifth, That it needs no argument to show that 
the difficulties, as heretofore existing, are ruinous to our 
beloved institution, and as the guardians of the same it is our 
solemn conclusion that further labor with the heads of our 
departments and Faculty, to reconcile their variances, is 
regarded by us as useless, and except a radical change occurs 
in the future, prompt and extreme means will be adopted by 
us toward the parties in fault. We give notice of this, not as 
a threat, or desiring to be disrespectful to our President, Prin- 
cipal or Faculty, but to let them know that our patience with 
their petty difficulties is exhausted, and for the future no com- 
promise will be required, but we shall, with the fear of God 
before our eyes, promptly apply a remedy, though it should 
sever the ties that connect us together, from the President to 
the last Professor, if they should persist in this conduct. 

Co-operation and peace we must have between our depart- 
ments, and without any additional or special law for future 
action, an infraction of those' two principles will be sufficient 
cause for prompt action by this Board. 

Resolved, Sixth, That we regard this adjustment as hon- 
orable and reasonable to all parties concerned, and, therefore, 
request the President, Principal and Professors to signify to 
this Board their acceptance of the same and willingness to 
unite their efforts with ours for the promotion of peace, co-op- 
eration and the advancement of the welfare of the school, in 

220 The Life and Wkitings of 

building it up in all its departments, to our mutual gratification 
and their profit and credit. 

Resolved, Seventh, That we request the President of this 
Board, Rev. Hosea Garrett, to give public notice through the 
"Texas Baptist" of the adjustment of all our troubles so soon 
as proper to do so. 

After this action was taken on the charges, and these 
resolutions adopted embodying the future policy of the Board, 
President Burleson, Professor Clark, Prof. R. B. Burleson, 
Dr. D. R. Wallace, O. H. Leland and Prof. Willrick, mem- 
bers of the Faculty of both the male and female departments, 
were sent for, and responded promptly. 

The findings of the Board under each specific head, as 
well as the preamble and resolutions adopted as a basis of the 
settlement of the controversies, were read, and the Faculty 
called on to state whether they accepted or rejected the conclu- 
sions and decisions. 

All gave their full approval to the decisions of the Board, 
and also to the declarations of future policy contained in the 
resolutions. , 

The Trustees entertained the highest regard for President 
Burleson and his brilliant Faculty, and for Prof. Clark and 
his corps of splendid assistants. They appreciated the fact 
that, without exception, they possessed a high order of ability 
as educators, and were anxious to retain all of them in their 
positions. The action taken, therefore, was cautious, conserv- 
ative and careful, and while it may be characterized as a com- 
promise course, yet it was impartial and a just treatment of 
both men and measures, persons and propositions. 

They, therefore, felt, since their conclusions met the 
hearty acquiescence of the Faculty in both departments, that 
bickerings and strife among them were forever at an end. 

Indeed, this was the case, so far as the University was 
directly responsible or concerned. They felt hopeful and 
cheerful under the circumstances, and the prospect for suc- 
cess was never more rosy or encouraging. Harmony and good 
will prevailed, and plans for future operations were rapidly 

Dk. Rufus 0. Burleson. 


formulated by the Board, in which President Burleson and all 
the teachers heartily and earnestly co-operated. 

These difficulties unfortunately, however, had passed 
beyond the control of the original principals, and were soon to 
be transferred to a new theater of action, and a dreadful day of 
doom and darkness was impending. 

222 The Life and Writings of 


Controversy Between President Burleson and Prof. 
Clark Passes Beyond Their Control Taken Up by 
Friends Permeates the Entire Community Publi- 
cation of a Pamphlet Precipitates a Church Trial 
Exciting Scenes -A Close Vote General Houston 
Present Meeting Between General Houston and 
Dr. Burleson Revival in the Independence Church 
Dr. Burleson's Triumph Letters of the Faculty 
and Senior Class Sustaining Him General Houston 
Pledges Dr. Burleson His Undying Devotion Hous- 
ton's Deposition by the Texas Legislature Visits 
Independence to Confer With His Friend, Dr. 

ISTORY does not afford a more striking example of 
the necessity of prudence in public utterances and 
conduct than the unfortunate differences between 
President Burleson and Prof. Clark. The good or evil effects 
of public expressions does not end when the occasion which 
called them forth passes, but they live on, and a harvest is 
reaped by somebody, at some time. In the spiritual and intel- 
lectual affairs of life, as well as the physical, we "sow the wind 
and reap the whirlwind," or we sow fitly spoken words of gen- 
tleness and discretion and reap a harvest of love, and make 
present and future generations the legatee of beneficence. 

This crimination and recrimination had been going on 
for years, and both parties to the controversy had been guilty 
of some measure of indiscretion and imprudence, which was 
not naturally a characteristic of either. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 223 

The adjustment made by the Board of Trustees was satis- 
factory to the parties directly concerned ; but not so with their 
friends. The affair had now permeated the entire commun- 
ity, and every citizen of Independence was arrayed as a 
bitter partisan on one side or the other. Dr. Burleson and 
Prof. Clark made diligent efforts to pacify the community, be 
it said to their credit, but all such were fruitless and vain. 

Good men who had been champions of the cause of either 
Dr. Burleson or Prof. Clark, seeing the evil trend of affairs, 
and the disastrous results and consequences, unless oil was 
poured on the troubled waters, abandoned all compromising 
and entangling alliances, assumed positions of neutrality, and 
made a personal, man-to-man canvass of the entire community 
on missions of peace. The public mind was so inflamed that 
nothing was accomplished. 

Men armed themselves, and appearances indicated that 
the affair would be settled vi et armis. 

At this juncture a pamphlet was published, signed by A. 
E. Lipscomb, a member of the Burleson following, attacking 
the friends of Prof. Clark with much vehemence. 

The publication of this pamphlet rekindled the bitter- 
ness of both sides, and the charges made, and the spirit mani- 
fested, were denounced as unchristian by the Clark f ollowing, 
and resulted in a church trial, which was precipitated by a 
motion to expel Mr. Lipscomb from the church, made at a 
conference held soon after the publication appeared. He was 
cited to appear at the bar of the church to show cause why the 
motion should not prevail, and a meeting was fixed to hear his 

On the occasion of this hearing, the friends of Dr. Burle- 
son and Prof. Clark were marshalled to a man, the first named 
in defense of Mr. Lipscomb, the latter to support the motion; 
not only the members of the church were present, but citizens 
of the community for miles around. 

During the progress of this trial, Dr. Burleson and Prof. 
Clark both ' became wrought up, lost self-control, and the 
pacificatory work of the Trustees, a month before, was com- 
pletely undone. 

Prom a Christian point of view, it was a most unusual 
spectacle. Trouble was expected, and it is recorded with 

224 The Life and Writings of 

sincere regret that men went to the church armed. The 
building was crowded to the last limit of its capacity. Rev. 
M. Ross, pastor of the church, acted as Moderator. He was 
an Englishman, a great preacher, smooth face, sixty-four 
years old, with snow-white hair. Through all the dissension 
he had preserved his neutrality, and his conduct and rulings 
on this occasion were impartial, by the testimony of nearly all 

The conference was formally opened, and the motion to 
withdraw fellowship from Mr. Lipscomb called up. It was 
the living, burning issue, and both sides realized that their 
standing depended upon its adoption or rejection. Neither 
was confident of its strength, and resort to parliamentary tac- 
tics was made as far as possible to determine this fact, and 
dilatory proceedings were the order. The Clark party finally 
reached the conclusion that they were superior in voting 
strength, but the margin was so small that they hesitated to 
insist on a vote. The crisis was now supreme and the sup- 
pressed excitement intense. Whatever was suggested by one 
party was promptly rejected by the other. 

Dr. Burleson believed in disposing of questions and issues 
directly; Prof. Clark was a tactician and parliamentarian. He 
wanted a vote taken, and, knowing it would be opposed if he 
suggested it, he moved the postponement of the matter to a 
future meeting. The Burleson party construed this motion as 
an admission of weakness, opposed it with all the force they 
could bring to bear, and the motion to postpone was defeated 
by a small majority, which gave them much confidence in 
their strength. The Clark men purposely permitted this 

The Moderator then ordered the conference to proceed 
on the motion to withdraw fellowship from Mr. Lipscomb. 

The proceedings now assumed an aspect of profound 
solemnity; all was quiet and orderly, and it was conceded that 
Lipscomb had achieved a victory. 

The ballot on the motion to expel was taken. The tally 
sheet by the tellers was carefully and fairly kept. The result 
was handed to the Moderator, who arose with much dignity to 
announce the vote. The silence of the excited audience can 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 225 

be compared to nothing but the stillness of death. Every 
eye and expectant mind was directed toward the pulpit. 

When the Moderator announced that Mr. Lipscomb stood 
expelled from the Independence Church by a majority of five 
votes, on a charge of unchristian conduct, pandemonium 
reigned; all were instantly on their feet; some entering pro- 
tests and challenging the vote; others clapping hands and 
exulting over the victory. 

Dr. Burleson was so confident that the ballot would be 
favorable to his contention that he was unnerved and lost, his 
balance by the result. He arose in his place, walked delib- 
erately to the rostrum, thrust his finger into the face of the 
Moderator, and said : 

a You have been guilty of unfairness, and have used the 
power of your official position to adopt this motion, and 
nothing but your gray hairs protect you from the punishment 
you so justly deserve." 

Moderator Ross shook with emotion, but made no kind 
of reply. He saw that the nervous tension of the people had 
been wrought to such a point that the sooner they dispersed 
the better, and adjourned the meeting without the usual 
ceremony and benediction. 

General Sam Houston, who was a member of the church, 
was present at this meeting, and witnessed the proceedings 
with surprise and astonishment. Dr. Burleson had baptized 
him in 1854, and he was a loyal Burleson man in this long and 
unfortunate controversy. 

That evening General Houston was sitting in the law 
office of his friend, T. W. Morriss, Esq., who was also a friend 
of Dr. Burleson, but was one of a very few in the community, 
and possibly the only man, who had not espoused the cause 
of one of the two leaders in the dispute. General Houston 
was chatting pleasantly with Judge Morriss, when Dr. Burle- 
son came in, and offered the General his hand. He arose, 
crossed his arms behind him, and said : 

"Brother Burleson, I served as Governor of Tennessee 
when that State was new, and have witnessed some fiery scenes 
among the people during their legislative proceedings. I 
have spent many months among the Cherokee Indians, and 


226 The Life am> Writings 


have seen many passionate outbursts when the council of these 
people was iu session. I have been a member of the United 
States Congress during some of the most turbulent sessions of 
that body ever held. I was Commander-in-Chief of the army 
of Texas, and served, through the campaign that resulted in 
the establishment of the liberty of the people. After the 
organization of the Republic, I filled the Presidency for two 
years, and saw the Congress in some of its stormiest sessions. 
"When Texas went into the Union and became a State, I was 
twice elected Governor, and witnessed many discourtesies in 
debate when these early Legislatures were in session. 

"But during all my public life I have never seen such 
improprieties in the proceedings of any body, as yon were 
guilty of/ this morning in the Baptist Church, when you shook 
your finger in Bro. Boss' face, charged him with dishonorable 
conduct, and told him that nothing but his gray hairs pro- 
tected him from personal violence. You baptized me in 
Rocky Creek in 1854, and in your company I have spent 
many happy hours in social and spiritual enjoyment. For 
manv vears I have been vour devoted friend. But, Brother 
Burleson, after witnessing your conduct this morning, you 
must excuse me, but I cannot, I will not, take your hand until 
convinced that you have sincerely repented." 

Dr. Burleson was not prepared for this rebuke, coining 
as it did from a man with whom he had for years sustained the 
most cordial and affectionate relations. He preserved his 
equanimity, however, bowed himself out of the office and 
went to his home. 

I hiring the next few weeks the excitement in the com- 
munity subsided to some extent and the good nature of the 
people was restored. 

Rev. James H. Stribbling, a former student of Baylor 
University, came to Independence to conduct a protracted 
meeting, during which Dr. Burleson had his triumphs. The 
interest in the meeting did not grow as Dr. Stribbling, the 
pastor, Rev. AT. Ross, and other members of the church had 
expected and desired. All the services seemed to be dead 
formality and nobody moved. After it had progressed for 
nearly a week, Dr. Stribbling called on Dr. Burleson to lead 

Dr. RtTfus C. Burleson. 227 

in prayer during one of the services. In extending the 
request for Dr. Burleson to pray, the preacher used this 

"Brethren, this meeting is not progressing as I, and I 
trust you all had prayed. We are not right before God, or 
He would send us a blessing. Let us all get down on our 
knees, and join with Brother Burleson in an earnest prayer 
that God will remove all obstacles in the way, and send us 
down from Heaven such a blessing as our souls are not able 
to contain. Let us pray." 

Instantly almost all the Christians in the house knelt 
down. All was quiet. Dr. Burleson was attired in a black 
frock coat, black trousers, black silk plush vest, standing collar 
and white stock cravat. He arose from his place in the 
audience and said : 

"If at any time in my life I have offended any creature 
of God, either man or beast, by thought, word or deed, I here 
and now humbly crave God's forgiveness, and ask their pardon. 
Bro. Stribbling, you have asked me to kneel in prayer. This 
I cannot do. I feel like prostrating myself in the dust of the 
earth, and ask Him to take everything away that hinders, or 
in any way interferes with the progress of this meeting." 

With these words he slowly walked from his seat to the 
aisle, deliberately threw himself upon his stomach, supported 
his face with his hands, and poured out his soul to God for a 
blessing on all he had offended, for the spirit of peace and love, 
and that everything that stood in the way of the success of 
that meeting might be removed. This prayer was the most 
soulful ever heard. The stone walls were almost melted. It 
reached the very Throne, and moved the Almighty God Him- 
self. The windows and doors of heaven were thrown wide 
open, and copious showers of Divine blessings descended upon 
that town, that had been torn and tossed on the waves of in- 
ternal strife for years. 

After the service was over Dr. Ross and others gave Dr. 
Burleson their hands as a token of their complete reconcilia- 
tion. General Houston approached him and remarked: 
Ijrother Burleson, hero is my hand. Hold it while life lasts. 
Here is my heart; it will love you with its last pulsation." 

228 The Life and Writings of 

This was not Dr. Burleson's only triumph. Others were 
to follow. 

. Washington was hounded and pursued during the closing 
years of the Revolution of 1776, but by his courage and 
capacity triumphed over his enemies. Gladstone was thrice 
hurled from the British Premiership, but lived to see his poli- 
cies and character vindicated by the English people. Houston 
was deposed in 1861, and left the capital overwhelmed with 
mortification because of a variance between himself and the 
Legislature, but his foresight and wisdom is now seen and 
admitted, and to-day he occupies the highest place in the esti- 
mation of the people of Texas, and the warmest place in their 

Like these patriots and heroes, Dr. Burleson had been 
discredited by his church, and it may be said also by the Board 
of Trustees of Bavlor Universitv, but his overtowering 
personality and character enabled him to overcome much of 
this opposition. 

By those with whom he had been most intimately thrown 
he was warmly sustained. This is shown by the following 
communications, which were placed in his hands when he 
tendered his resignation as President in June, 1861 : 

Articles of Agreement. 

We, the President and Professors of the Male Depart- 
ment of Baylor University, enter into the following articles of 

1st. We pledge ourselves to exert our utmost ability to 
build up and sustain a great literary institution in Texas. 

2d. To secure this noble end, we will do all in our 
power to promote the pecuniary, social and professional interest 
and happiness of each other. 

3d. All questions of mutual interest or difference to be 
decided according to the will of a majority. 

4th. The basis of our co-operation shall be our present 
relations as professors, until otherwise ordered by the majority. 

5th. It is distinctly understood that in all our inter- 
course with each other, as well as all others, we are to act on 
the highest principles of candor, honesty and patriotism. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 229 

6th. This agreement to last five years, unless dissolved 
by mutual consent, after three months' notice has been given. 



Request From the Senior Class. 

To the Faculty, Male Department of Baylor University : 

In consequence of your late action in notifying the Trus- 
tees of Baylor University that you would resign your respect- 
ive positions as Professors in said institution at the close of the 
present term, and in consideration of the patent fact that what- 
ever of educational advantages we have enjoyed while stu- 
dents of Baylor University have been derived from your 
arduous and disinterested labors in our behalf, and, whereas, 
the relations which have so pleasantly existed between us, as 
Professors and pupils, should not be severed by your removal 
from this institution, and that the University with which you 
in future will be connected should be our Alma Mater; 

Resolved, By the senior class of Baylor University, That 
we prefer receiving our diplomas from you, when you shall 
have established yourselves in Waco University, and do not 
wish to graduate at the close of the present term as students 
of Baylor University. 

(Signed) M. M. VANDERHURST, 

That Dr. Burleson's triumph over General Houston was 
complete, and that the warmest personal relations were 

230 The Life and Whitings of 

restored, is shown by the fact that when General Houston was 
deposed as Governor of Texas, in 1861, he went to Indepen- 
dence expressly to see Dr. Burleson, and seek his counsel and 
advice as to the wisest and best course for him to pursue. 

These great Texans discussed the ordinance of secession, 
the secession convention, the probable resort to arms that 
would be had by the States, and the result of the impending' 
conflict. Together these brothers, friends and patriots, 
kneeled under the boughs of a wide-spreading live oak, and 
prayed to the God of nations for guidance and direction, for 
themselves and their people. When they arose General Hous- 
ton gave Dr. Burleson a parting hand, and said, with tearful 
eyes: "Brother Burleson, let us continue to pray and hope 
for the best, but I fear all is lost." 

It has been remarked that the disagreements in the Fac- 
ulty of Baylor University did not change the geography of 
Texas, but did perceptibly affect its history. This is candidly 
believed, confidently asserted, and can be clearly shown. 

In 1861 there were twenty Baptist churches in Washing- 
ton County, and fully as many of other evangelical denomina- 
tions. The county ranked among the first in wealth and pop- 
ulation, and was increasing rapidly in both. As an educa- 
tional center the county had neither a competitor or rival. 
Hundreds of wealthy families had settled in the county on 
account of the religious advantages and educational facilities 

What is said of Washington County may be said also of 
Burleson, Grimes, Montgomery, Waller, Austin, Fayette, 
Colorado and many other counties convenient and adjacent. 
Baylor University was the nucleus around which the people 
in these counties rallied, and it was the strong, cohesive force 
that held them too-ether. The resignation of Dr. Burleson 
and Faculty in June, 1861, marks the decline and death of 
Baylor University at Independence, which marks in turn the 
decline of South Texas, which meant, in the light of late de- 
velopments, the growth and increase, in spiritual and material 
affairs of Xorth and Central Texas, especially the latter. 

Thousands of families moved from the twenty counties 
around the school at Independence, and settled at convenient 

Dr. En rs C. Burlesox. 231 

distances from the University at Waco. As a result the 
Baptist, and American population within a radius of one 
hundred miles of Waco, has octupled in forty years, while the 
same classes of society in Washington county has decreased in 
the same proportion, and in some other counties contiguous 
have passed out almost altogether. Washington county has 
now twenty Lutheran churches with the numerical strength 
and moral influence of Lutheranism increasing every year. 

We make no sort of pretension to ability in reading 
heavenly omens, nor to power to unravel signs, and apply them 
to purely mundane affairs. It is not even assumed in these 
ages of the world, that God uses displays of His might in the 
phenomena of nature to show His approval, or disapproval of 
human conduct. Paul and Peter, however, saw signs, had vis- 
ions, and described celestial wonders from terrestial positions. 
Ancient Babylon, Jerusalem, Sodom and Gomorrah received 
warnings of their destruction and doom from an angry God, 
failing to heed which they were removed from the earth, and 
in the case of some the destruction is so complete that their 
precise location can not be determined. 

During the years that the favored town of Independence 
was passing through this unseemly tumult, there was a most 
remarkable display of heavenly phenomena. 

A great comet came out of the northern heavens. It 
had a resplendant appendage, estimated by astronomers to 
be one million miles long. It curved with indescribable grace 
and presented the form of a cavalryman's saber with the hilt 
hanging west. It whirled and described an immense circle 
around the sun, and disappeared, after remaining visible for 
weeks, in the same direction from which it came, and most 
remarkable to say, pushing its tail in front. 

The following year, (1860), there was a grand auroral 
display in the northern heavens. At first a faint reddish 
tinge diffused itself over that portion of the sky. The col- 
oring became more distinct, until the heavens looked as if 
they had received a coating of blood. Through this mass, a 
long silvery prominence shot up, from the base to its zenith. 

( 1 ) We are indebted to Judge T. W. Morriss for these fact?, who, with other per- 
sons now living vouch for their truthfulness. 

232 The Life and "Wettings of 

The redness extended to the northeast, sprayed and streaked 
with silvery streams, shooting to the uppermost limit in many 
places. Then the whole brilliant phenomena would descend 
like a great gorgeous portiere to the very edge of the horizon. 
Remaining for only a moment, it would suddenly start and 
shoot upward with the velocity of lightning. Instantly the 
naming red spectacle would become bisected, one half rolling 
literally to the east, the other sweeping and swooping west- 

Reuniting, the entire auroral mass would swing and whirl 
from east to west, like the pendulum of a great clock. The 
colors were constantly and continually changing, from light 
to deepest crimson, now threaded with somber streams of 

Now it settled, became steady, and finally disappeared 
like a dissolving view, from human sight. 

We do not wish to be understood as maintaining, that the 
great comet, shaped so like a warrior's saber, was the sword 
of Damocles hung by the Almighty One, over the town of 
Independence as a warning that the strife among the people 
must cease, but it looks that way; and more, it looks like the 
hair by which the sword of Damocles was suspended was cut, 
and it descended with destructive avenging might. 

We do not assume, nor attempt to maintain, that the 
auroral display, when it parted, was intended to represent the 
sundered condition of the town, church and Universitv, and 
when it became reunited to teach the beauty of harmony and 
reunion of discordant elements; nor do we say when it dis- 
appeared it was typical of the destruction that would follow 
unless peace, and unity of spirit prevailed; though it looks 
that way. ]STo deductions are drawn, and no applications are 
made. We merelv recite the facts. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 233 


Resigns the Presidency of Baylor University at Inde- 
pendence Letter to the Board of Trustees 
Exalted Spirit Manifested by Dr. Burleson in Retir- 
ing from the School Summary of Ten Years' Work 
at Independence. 

[ HE controversies in the school and church at Inde- 
pendence resulted as was to be expected in Doctor 
Burleson tendering his resignation as President of 
Baylor University. This has already been referred to; with 
a view of presenting his resignation f ormally he addressed the 
following letter to the President of the Board. In the face, 
and in the very atmosphere where, for nearly ten years Dr. 
Burleson had encountered so many obstacles in his efforts to 
build a University to which the Baptists of Texas could point 
with pride, the letter breathes a spirit of nobleness and Chris- 
tian forbearance, worthy of preservation in the holiest archives 
of earth : 

Baylor University, Independence, Texas, 

May 15th, 1861. 

Rev. Hosea Garrett, President Board of Trustees, Chappell 

Hill, Texas: 

Dear Brother : There are a great many items of busi- 
ness to be settled between your Board and our Eaculty prepar- 
atory to our final separation. Please inform us whether we 
shall confer with the whole Board, or a special committee. 
Also let us know whether a formal presentation of our resigna- 
tions at this time will facilitate your business. 

234 The Life and AYkitixgs of 

We are anxious to co-operate with you and the Board in 
securing an amiable dissolution of the intimate relations which 
have so long existed, and in whatever way we can promote the 
great interest of education under Baptist auspices in Texas. 

We need not disguise the fact that in our present and 
future relations great magnanimity of soul, and Christian for- 
bearance and firmness will be required to prevent alienations, 
and recriminations, which will only wound Christ in the house 
of His friends. 

I shall avoid no sacrifice to prevent this result. 

We earnestly desire peace and fraternity and co-opera- 
tion in promoting the great interest of our dear Redeemer's 
cause in Texas. 

Tor vourself and the majority of the Board we have the 
deepest affection and kindest remembrance; and for those 
from whom we have differed we entertain no unkind feeling, 
and wish the mantle of love to be thrown over all our differ- 

Yours ever and affectionately, 


At a meeting of the Board held at Independence June 
28th. 1801, the resignations of President Burleson and other 
members of the Faculty were formally presented and accepted, 
and his connection with the University at that place ended. 

.V resume of the result of his ten years' work is given. 
In some instances the reports and data from which this infor- 
mation is compiled are meagre and hence the figures may not 
be exact, but may be taken as reliable approximations. Again, 
since Dr. Burleson's immediate control extended only over the 
Alale Department of Baylor University, the figures and facts 
for this Department only are given. 

1st. The only buildings on the campus in 1851, was a 
two story stone structure 4>x60 feet. In 1861, a two story 
stone building 40x80 had been added and the first story of the 
main University building 56x112 finished. 

Three wooden buildings 16x32 feet for recitation rooms 
had been also added to the college buildings proper, making 
twelve large rooms, one chapel, and one ample hall. A three 

Dr. RuFtrs C. Burlesox. 235 

story boarding' house was completed with 25 rooms, with a 
two story annex with 8 rooms, a total of 33. 

2nd. In 1851 there was not the semblance of a library;, 
and no chemical and scientific apparatus. In 1861 the library 
contained 2500 volumes, and there was a supply of apparatus 
amply sufficient for chemical and philosophical experiments 
and demonstrations. 

3rd. The school opened September 1st, 1851, with 27 
students in the Male Department, and 25 in the Female. In 
1861 there were 280 students in Male Department and 200 
in the Female. 

4th. In 1851 the receipts including $336.00 interest on 
endowment notes, were approximately $2,000.00. In 1861, 
President Burleson reported the receipts to the Trustees to be 

5th. In 1851, Baylor University was an unknown 
school, an uncertain educational enterprise, trembling in the 
throes of doubt. In 1861, it was known in every state in the 
Union, and catalogued by the London Times among the lead- 
ing institutions of learning in America. 

It is not claimed that Dr. Burleson is entitled to all the 
credit for this marvelous growth and development of Baylor 
University. The Board of Trustees during this period of the 
school's history was composed of: 

Rev. Hosea Garrett, Nelson Kavanaugh, Esqr.; Hon. 
Albert G. Haynes, Judge R. E. B. Baylor. Gov. A. C. Tlorton, 
E. G. Mays, Esqr.; J. L. Farquhar. Esqr.; Col. R. B. Jarman. 
T. .T. Jackson, Esqr.; Dr. G. AY. Gra.ves, Rev. J. W. D. 
Creath. Rev. J. G. Thomas, Col. Aaron Shannon, Col. J. S. 
Lester, Gen. J. W. Barnes. Judge Aimer S. Lipscomb, Dr. 
George W. Baines. 

And while there were honest differences between the 
Trustees and President as to methods, they rendered him val- 
uable aid. 

It is, however, asserted that he is entitled to the honor in 
the same sense that a General who commands an army is en- 
titled to the credit of achieving a brilliant vietorv in battle. 

236 The Life and "Writings of 


Union Association Mother of the Convention Appoints 
a Central Committee Meeting Called Convention 
Organized September 8th, 184S at Anderson List 
of Churches and Delegates Dr. H. L. Graves First 
President Rufus C. Burleson First Corresponding 
Secretary- Other Officers -Constitution Report 
of Committee on Establishing a Paper Advise that 
Paper be Established, but Convention to Assume no 
Financial Responsibility Character and Work of 
Convention, and its Influence on the People of 

I IFF Union Baptist Association is not only the mother 
=ss=a of the Texas Baptist Education Society, Baylor 
^"^J University, Baylor Female College and nearly one 
hundred Baptist associations in the State, but it has also the 
distinction of being the mother of the Baptist General Con- 
vention of Texas. 

It has been said that the Baptist pioneers of the State 
were impulsive, deliberated in a whirl, and reached conclu- 
sions hastily. They had no time to dally or delay, they were 
pressed by the exigencies of the times, and acted with prompt- 
ness and courage, but not in haste. Every important step and 
enterprise was carefully, cautiously and conservatively con- 
sidered. They inaugurated many enterprises to meet transient 
conditions, a temporary want; these have all perished with the 
necessity which called them forth. 

When, however, they planned for the future, they acted 
with caution, displayed unmatched wisdom, and laid founda- 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 23 7 

tions unaffected by the blasts of nearly three-quarters of a 
century. Surely these early builders for God, in the trackless 
Texas forests, were in the mind of John, the Divine, when he 
wrote, "Yea saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their 
labors; and their works do follow them." 

But let the original M. S. record of the Union Baptist 
Association itself be consulted, to see whether they acted has 
tily, or without due deliberation in the matter of organizing 
the Baptist State Convention, which was, and is beyond ques- 
tion, the most potent factor for good of any religious organiza- 
tion in the state. 

At a meeting of the association held in Houston, com- 
mencing September the 30th, and ending October the 4th, 
1847, the following resolution was introduced by K. S. Blount 
and adopted: "Resolved, That the corresponding secretary 
be, and is hereby instructed to correspond with the several 
associations in the State, and with as many of the churches 
as it is convenient, in order to ascertain their views and wishes 
in regard to the formation of a Baptist State Convention." 

"Resolved, That this association appoint a central com- 
mittee of correspondence composed of H. L. Graves, H. Gar- 
rett, Richard Ellis, P. B. Chandler, W. M. Tryon, J. W. D. 
Creath, A. G. Haynes, J. L. Farquhar and J. G. Thomas, 
whose duty it shall be to receive from the corresponding secre- 
tary, the information that he may obtain, and in the event that 
a majority of the churches so corresponded with, shall be in 
favor of forming a convention, then it shall be the duty of 
the said central committee, to appoint a place and time of 
meeting, and unite with the churches favorable thereto, to 
send delegates to the said place of meeting, in order to organize 
a state convention." 

Dr. Henry L. Graves, the corresponding secretary, com- 
municated with the associations and churches then existing in 
the state, which correspondence he arranged in businesslike 
form, and delivered to the central committee. 

The record does not state where or when, but the central 
committee met, went over the letters carefully, in which the 
associations and churches had expressed themselves on the 
subject, and decided that the time had come in the history 
of Texas Baptists for the formation of a body less circum- 

238 The Life and Writings of 

scribed in it-< operations than associations, and to organize a 
convention with state wide jurisdiction. The Antioch Church 
at Anderson, Grimes county, was selected by the committee as 
the most central and suitable place for holding the meeting, 
and September 8th, 1848, the most desirable time. 

The action of the central committee was communicated 
by the corresponding secretary to the associations and churches, 
by private letters and publication in the very few papers in the 

At the time designated, September 8th, 1848, and at tliQ 
place specified, Anderson, Grimes county, the delegates from 
the churches assembled, and at 9 o'clock proceeded to organize 
the Baptist State Convention. 

Judged by results, the work of that autumn morning is 
the most memorable in the brilliant history of Texas Baptists, 
and those who took part in it, are worthy of undying glory in 
this world, and immortality in the next. There are few persons 
or places, in all the geographical limits of Texas that have 
not been plainly, palpably, perceptibly and powerfully effected 
by it; and in future ages, where is the person or place in all 
Texas, that will not be moved to higher plains of social, re- 
ligious and civil excellence, and living, under the influence of 
this stalwart ecclesiastical body, whether they be Baptist, or 
even Christians of any distinction, or not. 

In its vigorous existence for more than a half century 
in Texas, its influence has permeated the pulpit, moved min- 
isters, cultivated Christianity, made homes happier, politics 
purer, society less sordid, and commerce cleaner. 

So far as can be now determined, at the time the con- 
vention was formed, there were less than a half dozen asso- 
ciations in Texas, and only thirty-four churches, with an 
aggregate membership of about 950. Of these twenty-three 
churches sent delegates. The associations were not repre- 
sented; unless Z. N. Morrell and Z. Werley who accepted 
seats in the convention as visitors, represented associations. 

Bev. Z. ~N. Morrell by invitation from the central com- 
mittee, preached the introductory sermon from the text, ''Of 
the increase of His government and peace, there shall be no 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 239 

After the sermon' the delegates assembled in mass meet- 
ing; Judge R. E. B. Baylor was elected to preside, and Rev. 
J. G. Thomas, chosen secretary. The delegates present were 
requested to place their credentials on the secretary's table, 
and Reverends James Huekins and J. W. D. Creath appointed 
by the chairman to read them, and the secretary to enroll the 

The following churches were found to be represented by 
the delegates whose names are given : 


H. L. Graves, R. E. B. Baylor, James Huekins, J. H. 
Stribling and A. G. Haynes. 

B. B. Baxter, J. L. Farquhar and J. G. Heard. 

Dove Church. 

H. Ryan, W. A. Chance, E. J. Chance, W. G. Rowland 
and J. G. Thomas. 

Providence. (Was! 1 ington County). 

Hosea Garrett, J. M. Hill, J. W. Brooks, W. Jackson and 
J. I). Smith. 


Rufus C. Burleson, R. S. Blount, E. B. Noble, D. S. 
Terry, J. X. Joiner and IT. Bowles. 

Rocky Creek. 
A. M. Tandy, M. B. Bennett and B. Stribling. 

Plum Grove. 
Win. Scallorn, G. W. Tuttle and J. Price. 

Post Oak Grove. 
J. W. D. Creath, A. McRae, J. King and X. H. Davis. 

Antioch. (Anderson). 

A. Bumngton, O. IT. P. Hill, A. G. Perry, J. W. Barnes 
and J. M. Camp. 


B. E. Ellis and J. L. Ellis. 

240 The Life and Writings of 

New Years Creek. (Brenham). 
D. Fisher, J. Allcorn, J. Clark, J. Brown and W. G. 


Noah Hill, A. C. Horton, W. Baxter and J. Yeaman. 


R. Andrews, R. B. Jarraan, S. S. Hosea and S. E. 

R. Ellis, B. Weeks, J. L. Johnson and J. Mullin. 

R. H. Taliaferro. 

J. Stephens, D. B. Dillard and N". Burgett. 

T. Davis, W. Stone, C. S. Gorbet. 

Mount Gilead. 
R. D. Heck, W. P. Darby, G. M. Buchanan, W. W. 

Galveston. (First Church). 
J. F. Hillyer, Gail Borden and D. B. Morrill. 

Jesse Witt, J. Goodwin and S. Sanders. 

Eli Mercer. 

La Grange. 
P. B. Chandler, J. S. Lester. 

Providence. (Burleson County). 
Represented only by letter. 

The provisional organization of the Convention, was con- 
tinued until the adoption of the constitution. 

Hosea Garrett, Rufus C. Burleson, James Huckins, H. 
L. Graves, J. W. D. Creath, Richard Ellis, P. B. Chandler, 
R. S. Blount, A. C. Horton, J. G. Thomas, to which the chair- 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 241 

man, R. E. B. Baylor, was added by motion, were appointed to 
draft a constitution. 

R. H. Taliaferro, Noah Hill and A. G. Haynes were ap- 
pointed on a committee to prepare rules of order. 

Saturday, the 9th, at 9 o'clock the committee on constitu- 
tion of which Rufus C. Burleson was a member, submitted its 
report to the convention, which was adopted without amend- 
ment or change, as was also the report of the committee on 
rules of order. It is related that both these committees 
worked until nearly daylight, to have their reports ready to 
present to the convention at the opening of the morning ses- 
sion of the second day. 

Report of Committee on Constitution. 

1. This body shall be called the Baptist State Conven- 
tion of Texas. 

2. The objects' of the Convention shall be Missionary 
and Educational, the promotion of harmony of feeling and 
concert of action in our denomination, and the organization of 
a system of operative measures, to promote the interest gen- 
erally of the Redeemer's Kingdom within this State. 

3. The convention shall be composed only, of members 
of Baptist Churches in good standing. 

4. Any member of a Baptist Church may be a member 
of the convention, upon the payment of $5.00, and will be 
entitled to life membership, upon the payment of $25.00 at 
one time. Any association, church or society, shall be en- 
titled to one representative in the convention, for every $5.00 
contributed to its funds; and any church belonging to an asso- 
ciation shall be entitled to one representative without a con- 

5. All donations to the convention shall be sacredly 
appropriated in accordance with the wish of the donor. 

6. The officers of the convention shall be a president, 
three vice-presidents, a corresponding secretary, a recording 
secretary and a treasurer; who shall be annually elected by bal- 
lot, but shall hold their office until others are elected, which 
officers shall be ex-officio members of the Board of Directors. 

7. It shall be the duty of the President to preside over 
the deliberations of the convention, and Board of Directors, 


242 The Life and Writings of 

and discharge such other duties as are generally incumbent 
upon this officer in deliberative assemblies. He shall appoint 
the committees in all cases, except when the convention shall 
otherwise determine. 

In the absence of the President one of the Vice-Presi- 
dents shall preside, and the one entitled to the office shall be 
determined by seniority of age. 

8. It shall be the duty of the Corresponding Secretary 
to conduct all the correspondence of the convention, and 
Board of Directors. He shall make an annual report in writing 
of the same, embodying therein, such matter or information 
as he may deem important. 

9. It shall be the duty of the Recording Secretary to 
keep in a book suitable for the purpose, a correct record of the 
proceedings of the convention, and Board of Directors, and to 
file and keep such papers as are important to be preserved. 

10. It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to take charge 
of all moneys, specialties and property belonging to the con- 
vention, and to make such disposition of the same, as he shall 
be directed by the convention or Board of Directors. He 
shall not make any disposition of money or property, without 
an order signed by the presiding officer and Recording Secre- 
tary. He shall make an annual statement in writing, to the 
convention, of his official acts, and of his receipts and disburse- 

11. The convention shall annually elect by ballot a 
Board of Directors, of not less than twenty members, whose 
duty it shall be to act in the recess of the convention, and 
whose powers shall be the same as those of the convention; 
they shall not do anything inconsistent with the constitution, 
nor contrary to the objects and intentions of the convention. 
It shall be their duty to meet once in every four months, and 
oftener if they deem it necessary. They shall keep a record of 
their proceedings, and make an annual report of the same in 
writing to the convention. They shall make their own By- 
Laws. Eight members shall constitute a quorum to do busi- 
ness. Five additional members of the Board of Directors, 
shall be nominated at the same meeting by the President, sub- 
ject to approval by the convention. Any life member of the 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 243 

convention may be an honorary member of the Board of 

The Board of Directors shall have the exclusive power of 
appointing agents and missionaries, and ordering the disburse- 
ment of money in the recess of the convention. They may call 
a meeting of the convention. 

12. The convention shall never possess a single attribute 
of power or authority over any church or association. It ab- 
solutely and forever disclaims any right of this kind, and 
hereby avowing that cardinal principle, that every church is 
sovereign and independent. 

13. The election of officers shall take place immediately 
after the convention is organized, and the Recording Secre- 
tary shall have ascertained the names and number of members 
present. The highest number of votes shall constitute a choice 
in all elections, except for President and Treasurer, in whicli 
elections a majority shall be necessary. 

14. ISTo officer of the convention shall receive any com- 
pensation for his services. 

15. Visiting brethren may be invited to seats in the con- 
vention, and participate in its deliberations, but shall not be 
allowed to vote. 

16. The annual sessions of the convention shall be held 
on Friday before the second Sabbath in May. 

17. This constitution mav be altered or amended at an 
annual session, by a vote of two-thirds of the members 

The constitution was considered seriatim, and adopted 
as the organic law of the body. And just as the constitution 
of the Republic of Texas adopted in 1836 has, with slight 
elaborations and enlargements, been re-affirmed, by every 
constitutional convention held since, so this first constitution 
of the Baptist State Convention, has been substantially re- 
adopted by that body from that time until now. 

Dr. Henry L. Graves, who it will be remembered was the 
first President of Baylor University, was elected President. 
Dr. Graves was a man of commanding personal appearance, 
deliberate and dignified in manner, a fine parliamentarian, and 
as a presiding officer has had few equals. He filled the posi- 
tion until 1851, when he was succeeded in office by Judge R. 

244 The Life axd TVeitixgs of 

E. B. Baylor. J. W. D. Creath, Hosea Garrett and James 
Huckins were Vice-Presidents; Rufus C. Burleson, Corre=- 
ponding Secretary; J. G. Thomas, Recording Secretary, and 
J. W. Barnes, Treasurer. 

The President appointed committees on Education, 
Printing and Papers, Missions, Finance, Bibles and Colored 
Population, all of whom made interesting reports, that could 
be very properly inserted in this connection if this was a 
historv of the convention ; but since it is onlv intended to show 
Dr. Burleson's connection with it, only his acts are noticed. 
The committee on Printing consisted of J. W. Barnes, R. C. 
Burleson, J. P. Hillyer, Gail Borden, Pl. S. Blount and B. F. 
Ellis. In their report the committee discussed the value of 
the press with so much wisdom, that it is reproduced entire. 
It shows that the Baptist Fathers of Texas, were not only im- 
pressed with the importance of Missions and Education, but 
also every adjunct and accessory tending to promote the 
growth of the denomination, and development of the state. 


"It is a fact known to all of you, brethren, that among 
the individuals composing our churches, there are persons 
from almost everv state in the Union. It is a fact also known 
to you, that these brethren, owing to the sparseness of our 
population, are scattered in every direction over our extensive 
territory; and it is also well known, that we have brought with 
us impressions upon our minds, durably made, of the customs 
and practices of those with whom we were formerly associated. 

"There is in this scattered mass an exceedingly valuable 
material. It is a very desirable, and highly important object, 
to bring together and concentrate this material, so as to raise 
a superstructure that will be at once beautiful and useful. 
This object, we firmly believe can be accomplished, but the 
mode or plan of effecting it, presents itself with great force to 
our prayerful consideration. With a view of accomplishing 
this object your committee would suggest, as one of the most 
efficient means, the issuing, and widely circulating, a paper 
devoted to the views and interest of our denomination. \Ve 
believe it to be the most efficient means of producing concert 

Dr. Rufus C. Burlesox. 245 

of feeling and action, and creating unison in our future pro- 
gress and benevolent effort. 

"But if these reasons are insufficient, we would urge its 
utility for the reason, that our brethren need and desire, more 
religious matter in the form of newspapers than they now 
possess, or can obtain without great inconvenience and ex- 
pense. A paper would be a valuable auxiliary to the conven- 
tion, and will also promote the interest of our Baylor Insti- 
tute. We believe it will be made a medium of communication 
between our ministers and missionaries throughout the State. 
Through it we can all learn of the progress and prosperity of 
our churches and associations; and what is, if possible, still 
more important, it will be the means through which our 
brethren can disseminate the great principles of our denomi- 
nation; and the better to disseminate these great truths, your 
committee are of the opinion, that if four or five of our tal- 
ented ministers in different parts of the State were appointed 
by this convention, or would voluntarily prepare for publica- 
tion in this paper, suitable articles upon our Doctrines and 
Practices, that great good would result from it. 

"These are only in part the reasons that might be urged, 
and which readily suggest themselves to your minds, why it 
is desirable, if possible, to have a paper for our denomination 
in this State. 

"As regards the practicability of the measure, your com- 
mittee have not failed to possess themselves of such informa- 
tion as is highly important to the object contemplated. It is 
not considered necessary in a condensed report of this kind, 
to enter into details and minutiae, but they are fully con- 
vinced, that if 500 paying subscribers can be obtained, a 
paper can go into successful operation. 

"Your committee would suggest, that it is not contem- 
plated, so to connect the paper with this convention, as to incur 
any pecuniary responsibility whatever, on the part of this 
body, but that it shall be managed entirely by individual en- 
terprise. At the same time they are satisfied, that in order to 
insure success, the hearty co-operation of the friends and 
brethren of the convention are indispensable; and with that 
co-operation, our movement is onward. "We must appeal to 
Him who guides and governs, for blessings upon this effort." 

24G The Life and Writings of 


De. Burleson's Appearance in the State Convention, 
September 8th, 1848, Marks His Entrance Into Pub- 
lic Life in Texas Report of Committee on Educa- 
tion First Baptist Paper in Texas Mr. Burleson 
Invites the Convention to Hold Second Session in 
Houston Convention Met May 11th, 1S49 Re- 
elected Corresponding Secretary Mr. Burleson's 
Report as Corresponding Secretary List of Baptist 
Preachers in Texas in 1849 Conditions in 1849 and 
1901 Compared Early' Texas Heroes and Heroines 
Their Sacrifices Make Present Conditions Pos- 

\AT ITH ten thousand miles of railroad in Texas, upon 
ggssg which hundreds of passenger trains move to every 
^^QBJ point of the compass every hour; with one thousand 
daily and weekly newspapers, circulating in every conrmunity ; 
with the State a perfect interlacement of telegraph and tele- 
phone wires; with the most perfect postal facilities the world 
ever saw, postage at a trifle, and stationery at a song, it would 
not be a difficult matter to introduce a man to the three mil- 
lion people of Texas in a day. In 1848, when Dr. Burleson 
came to Texas, it was a vastly different proposition. Acquaint- 
ances were formed, and distinction achieved, almost entirely 
through the slow process of personal contact. Dr. Burleson 
had been in the State since January the 5th, had confined him- 
self to pastoral work in Houston, and while he had made some 
reputation, he was very little known personally. His appear- 

Dr. Rufus C. Buklesox. 241 

ance in the convention marks his entrance into public life in 
Texas; and when he arose on the floor of the convention to 
discuss the report on education, the delegates present looked 
inquiringly at each other and many of them asked : 

"What distinguished looking young brother is that'" 

The report of the committee, in which was so stronglv 
set forth the necessity of a Baptist paper in the State, wa.i 
adopted, and the following resolution, introduced by Gen. J. 
AY. Barnes, passed: 

""Resolved, That, concurring in the views of the forego- 
ing report, we recommend our brethren to use their best 
efforts in sustaining a paper to be devoted to the interest of 
our denomination in Texas." 

Xotwithstanding the fact that Texas Baptists thus early 
saw the importance of establishing a newspaper in the State, 
as a means of communication and stimulating denominational 
growth ; and notwithstanding the report of the committee, and 
subsequently the passage of the Barnes resolution, expressive 
of the sentiment of the convention on this subject, it was not 
until 1855 that the paper was started. In January of that 
year, seven vears after the convention had taken action, Dr. 
Or. TT. Baines, one of the profoundest men in the denomina- 
tion, established the "Texas Baptist" at Anderson. Rev. J. 
B. Stiteler, "SV. H. Stokes and R. H. Taliaferro were asso- 
ciated with Dr. Baines in the editorial management of the 
paper, which was conducted with marked ability until publica- 
tion was suspended as a result of the war of IS 61. 

Rev. James Huckins, Gov. A. C. Horton and Hon. Rich- 
ard Ellis composed the Committee on Education. The first- 
named was a leading spirit in projecting Baylor University, 
and his efforts to build it up had been ceaseless, as we have 
seen, and unremitting. Through his influence the Union 
Association had exercised fostering care over it. The new 
made friend of the school, found in Dr. Burleson, was no 
less ardent than the veteran Huckins. so he warmly supported 
the f ollowing report made by the committee : 

"Whereas, The tendency of sound learning is to increase 
moral power, and hence the future prosperity and influence 
of the Baptist denomination in Texas will greatly depend 
upon their efforts to advance the cause of education in their 

248 The Life and Writings of 

own families, and in the community generally; now, there- 
fore, be it 

''Resolved, By the Baptist State Convention, That we 
regard the efforts of the Board of Trustees of Baylor Univer- 
sity to build up and endow, and furnish that institution, so 
that it shall be able to give a thorough and polished educa- 
tion, as a subject deeply interesting to every Baptist, and that 
we commend the institution to their prayers, their affections 
and to their liberal support. 

'"Resolved, That in view of the increased and still increas- 
ing demand for a holy and learned ministry in this country, 
and confiding in the success of the prayer of faith, in securing 
this blessing; and believing that the church contains within 
itself all those gifts, which, if drawn out and cultivated, would 
be equal to its demands, we do solemnly and earnestly recom- 
mend to our ministers and brethren generally that while they 
obey the injunction, 'Pray ye the Lord of the harvest to send 
forth more laborers,' that they take up at least one collection 
yearly for the purpose of aiding those young men in procuring 
a suitable education who shall give evidence of being called 
of God to preach the gospel." 

On the 3d day of September, 1848, at a regular confer- 
ence meeting of the church in Houston the following reso- 
lution was passed : 

Resolved, Bv the members of this church, That we do 
invite the Baptist State Contention to hold its next meeting 
at this place." 

This invitation was presented by R. C. Burleson and the 
other delegates from the Houston Church to the convention 
at Anderson, and accepted. Pastor Burleson and his church 
and congregation have the honor of entertaining the conven- 
tion in its second annual session. ISTot only the members of 
the Baptist Church, but all Houston was gratified, and the 
pastors of the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches opened 
their doors and volunteered every assistance in their power 
to render. 

The convention met in Houston on Friday, the 11th of 
May and continued in session until the 14th. 

Rev. James Huckins preached the convention sermon. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 249 

J. W. D. Creath was elected President, and R. S. Blount, 
a member of the Houston Church, Recording Secretary. 

The Corresponding Secretary, R. C. Burleson, reported 
the proceedings of the Board of Directors during the year as 
follows : 

"It is deeply regretted that there is so little of interest in 
our proceedings to lay before your body. 

"On the 12th of September, 1848, immediately after the 
close of the convention at Fanthorpe (Anderson), the Board 
held its first meeting, in accordance with the instructions of 
the convention, and appointed a committee, composed of 
myself, R. S. Blount and Nelson Kavanaugh, to select a col- 
porteur, for the distribution of Bibles and religious books in 
Texas. The chairman of the committee has corresponded 
with four different brethren, with reference to engaging them 
in this important work, but no one has yet been obtained. 

The second meeting of the Board was held at Indepen- 
dence on the 30th of September, same year. At this meeting 
$150 was appropriated for home missions, provided a minis- 
ter could be obtained. But no one has yet been found to 
engage as missionary of the Board. 

"The amount of money for Foreign Missions was for- 
warded to the Board at Richmond, Virginia, $11.50 to be 
devoted to Chinese Missions, and $11.50 to African Missions. 
The headquarters of the Board was located at Independence. 

"The Board ordered $175 of the funds for educational 
purposes to be paid by the Treasurer of the convention to the 
Treasurer of the Education Society. The meeting in March 
was an entire failure, and there has been no meeting of the 
Board since. 


"Corresponding Secretary." 

As chairman of the committee appointed at the first ses- 
sion of the convention to collect data as to the number of Bap- 
tists in Texas at that time, Mr. Burleson made a partial report 
of his efforts to gather reliable statistics, in which he gave a 
list of the preachers: 

Reverends J. F. Hillyer, Richard Ellis, J. J. Wells, 
Noah Hill, P. B. Chandler, A. S. Mercer, James T. Powell, 
J. N. Joiner, "W. H. Vardeman, Hosea Garrett, H. L. Graves, 

250 The Life axd "Writings of 

R. E. B. Baylor, David Fisher, James H. Stribling, D. B. 
Morrill, Luther Seaward, B. B. Baxter, A. Buffmgton, J. W. 
D. Creath, J. Pearce, Z. X. Morrell, X. T. Byars. James 
Huckins, R. H. Taliaferro, A. E. Clemmons, "William Pickett, 
Jesse Witt, J. M. Perry and R. C. Burleson. Total, 29. Of 
the whole number twenty were filling regular pastorates. The 
number of churches was in excess of the number of preachers, 
and for this reason, while nine ministers were not in the pasto- 
rate, many others had several charges. 

Judge Bavlor was a lawver, in almost constant discharge 
of his duties on the bench, and only preached as he had oppor- 
tunity. Rev. Hosea Garrett was not fond of the pastorate, 
but very active and useful in every other department of 
Christian work. Dr. Henry L. Graves was giving his whole 
attention to the interest of Baylor University. Luther Sea- 
ward was giving his entire time to missionary work. Rev. 
!N\ T. Byars was also devoting his entire time to missionary 

The number of churchless preachers was thus, therefore, 
reduced to four, who, it seems, were more interested in farm- 
ing than in preaching the gospel. 

As this list of twenty-nine ministers, reported by Corre- 
sponding Secretary Burleson as being in Texas on the 12th day 
of September, 1849, is scanned, let the reader bear in mind 
that on the fifty-second anniversary of that report, September 
the 12th, 1901, there are about four thousand, and the ratio 
of Baptist growth in the State during the past fifty-three 
years will be readily grasped. A still clearer grasp of the 
marvelous numerical increase among Baptists in Texas will be 
had if it is recalled that when the Baptist General Convention 
of Texas met in Fort "Worth, jSTovember the 8th, 1901, just 
fifty-three years and two months after it was organized, there 
were three times as many delegates and visitors in attendance 
upon that body as there were members of the denomination in 
the entire State in 1848. The increase during the last half 
century will be more clearly grasped still if it be understood 
that if all the Baptists in Texas at the time Mr. Burleson 
made the report had been gathered into one congregation, it 
would just about equal the present membership of the First 
Baptist Church of Dallas or Waco. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burlesox. 251 

In 1850, at a session of the convention, held in Hunts- 
vine, Secretary Burleson presented an interesting report of 
the work of the convention for the year, which is summarized 
as follows: 

"The increased interest and prosperity of the work is 
chiefly owing, under God, to the arduous and efficient labors 
of our agent. Elder J. W. D. Creath was appointed to this 
important work at our second meeting, June 15th, 1851. 
His duty was to collect funds and awaken a general interest 
for the convention, to organize new churches in destitute 
places, and aid them in securing and supporting pastors. He 
was released from his churches, on the earnest solicitation of 
the Board of Directors,- and entered on his labors August 22d, 
1851. Since that time he has traveled 3,000 miles, delivered 
ninety-three lectures and exhortations, preached 137 sermons, 
visited 210 families, attended sixteen prayer-meetings, 
ordained one preacher and four deacons, organized one Sab- 
bath school, raised in cash $843.37. His expenses, $34. 
Your Board is deeply impressed with the importance of con- 
tinuing Brother Creath as missionary agent, and urge his 
reappointment immediately." 

"Rev. !N". T. Byars was appointed missionary in 1849, 
to labor in the county of Navarro, for three months. He 
preached twenty sermons, constituted one church, baptized 
three persons, traveled 500 miles, and received $25 from the 
Board as compensation for his services." 

''Rev. Luther Seaward was appointed in October, 1849, 
to labor principally in Burleson County. He has traveled 
700 miles, preached nineteen sermons, constituted one church, 
visited nine families, and received $100 for his labor." 

"Rev. David Lewis was appointed in October, 1850, as 
missionary to the counties of Houston and Anderson. He 
has traveled 645 miles, preached 162 sermons, delivered seven 
lectures, organized one church, baptized five persons, ordained 
one deacon, visited ninety-seven families, fourteen confer- 
ences, sixteen prayer-meetings, and delivered seven Sunday- 
school addresses." 

"Rev. A. Ledbetter commenced his labors as missionary 
January 1st, 1851, in Dallas, Ellis, Navarro and Tarrant 

252 The Life and Writings of 

counties. He has preached thirty-nine sermons, baptized two 
persons, received five by letter, and traveled 700 miles." 

"Rev. Xoah Hill, missionary to the colored people, com- 
menced his labors April 1st, 1851, among the slave popula- 
tion of Wharton, Matagorda and Brazoria counties. Your 
Board deeply feel the importance of this mission, and no man 
is better suited to it than Brother Hill. He has traveled 567 
miles, visited sixteen families, delivered four lectures, nine- 
teen sermons, six exhortations, and baptized thirteen slaves. 
Brother Hill received $100 from this Board, $200 from the 
Board at Marion, Alabama, and the remainder of his support 
is made up by the churches at Wharton and Cedar Lake." 

The regular quarterly meetings of the Board have been 
veil attended and exceedingly harmonious.'" 

Distribution of Bibles and Religious Books. 

"This important subject, so earnestly commended to 
vour bodv at the last session of the convention, has received 
prayerful attention. At the second meeting of the Board, a 
committee, consisting of R. H. Taliaferro, Nelson Kavanaugh, 
J. P. Cole and James Davis of Houston, was appointed. This 
committee, after most vigorous efforts, have not been able 
to secure, without the cash, books on such terms as would jus- 
tify them in commencing the colporteur system. We recom- 
mend that a fund of $150 be raised immediately, to com- 
mence a depository." 

"The Virginia and Foreign Bible Society at a recent 
meeting, donated $500 to aid Texas in circulating the Bible, 
and if we could raise $150, we could commence this glorious 
work at once. We have not been able until this time to secure 
a colporteur, fully prepared and qualified for this work, but 
are now happy to state that our beloved brother, Richard 
Ellis, has signified his willingness to enter upon this work just 
as soon as the books can be procured." 

New Fields. 

"Communications have been received, which clearly 
show the great importance of the convention sending mis- 
sionaries immediately to labor in and around Richmond, Fort 

Dk. Rufus C. Burleson. 253 

Bend county, and Cameron, the county seat of Milam county, 
and also Austin, the capital of the State. There are some 
influential Baptists living near these places, each of which 
presents a wide field of usefulness, and should be occupied by 
pious, intellectual and energetic preachers." 

"Letters have been received from Brother Baggerly of 
Austin and Brother Wombwell of Brownsville concerning 
their fields of labor. Brother Wombwell states that in his 
missionary labors he is sustained by the Domestic Board of 
the Southern Baptist Convention, and a school under his 
charge ; that there is in Brownsville no church, there not being 
a sufficient number of members to compose one, nor a house 
of worship belonging to our denomination; that his time is 
employed in studying the Spanish language, and in making 
the necessary arrangements ;for a regular and (systematic 
organization, and so far as possible in all the work of an 

"Brother Baggerly presents Austin as a proper field to 
be occupied by the convention, and asks that a suitable man be 
secured and sent into it, which request should be, if possible, 
favorably responded to. He likewise requests the convention 
to appoint a body of visitors to attend the examination of the 
school under his charge, which the Board has deemed proper 
to decline as business that does not legitimately come before 
the convention." 

The Treasurer's report at this session of the convention 
showed the source of every contribution, and how the money 
had been applied. 

The Finance Committee reported and paid over to the 
Treasurer $823.67, with an itemized statement, of whom, and 
for what purpose, all collections were received. 

Some reference has been made and some comparisons 
instituted, showing how the Baptists of Texas had increased 
numerically during the past fifty-three years, and how the 
work of the convention had enlarged. This enlargement is 
noticeable in all lines of work, and a comparison between the 
report of Corresponding Secretary Burleson, made at the 
fourth session of the convention, in 1851, and the report of 
Dr. J. B. Gambrill, Corresponding Secretary, made at the 
session of the convention held in Fort Worth, November the 

254 The Life and Writings of 

8th, 1901, exactly fifty years and two months afterwards, 
shows the immense strides made in the financial operations of 
the convention, and will produce a feeling of joyful surprise 
and gladness from those who are unacquainted with the opera- 
tions of that body when it was an infant on the borders of 
civilization. The total receipts of the convention in 1851, 
from all sources, was $823.67, and five missionaries were 
employed. At Tort "Worth, Dr. Gambrill says in his report : 

"The results recorded for 1900-1 are far beyond any- 
thing known in our history. The Education Commission was 
able to mark the triumphant completion of the first part of its 
herculean task, viz : The liquidation of all indebtedness on 
the correlated schools, and the addition of -important equip- 
ments, not as originally planned, but far beyond. The entire 
amount raised for debt paying and equipment is about $400,- 
000. During the last year the commission raised in cash 
$250,000. The debts, which imperiled all our schools 
except one or two, will be known no more forever. 

"'The operations of the Mission Board were on a large 
scale. More than $50,000 in cash was paid out by the Board 
on State missions; 203 missionaries were employed. All obli- 
gations were met and a balance left in the treasury. Two 
thousand nine hundred and ninety-four people were baptized, 
eighty-three churches constituted, and 6,062 brought into 
church relations. Forty-two meeting houses were built and 
eight others assisted in building. The entire financial opera- 
tion of the Board, in all branches of its work, for all purposes, 
and in all ways, amounted to $140,000 in round numbers. 
That the work of the Commission and State Board could have 
each succeeded on such a tremendous scale, on the same field, 
at the same time, during a year of State-wide crop failure, 
surely ought to awaken thought." 

From 1812, the year from which the operations of Bap- 
tists in Texas should date, until 1851, vdien Dr. Burleson 
made his report, about twenty houses of worship had been 

Dr. Gambrell's report shows forty-two, just double this 
number, and two over, erected in one year. 

Dr. Burleson's report shows twenty-nine Baptist preach- 
ers in Texas in 1849. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 255 

Dr. Gambrell's report shows nearly seven times that 
number employed solely as missionaries. 

There were, approximately, 950 Baptists in Texas in 
1848. Dr. Gambrell's report shows 6,062, or nearly seven 
times that number, were added to the various churches in the 
State in 1901. 

The last and most striking comparison is, in one respect, 
a deduction; in the other exact figures are given. 

There was a time in the history of the world when nearly 
all the good Baptists lived in caves and among the mountains. 
They had no property, because not permitted to work. These 
good Baptists never came out of these caves, nor down from 
these mountains, except to be blown up or butchered for loy- 
alty to their convictions. They have recovered from these 
slight reverses now, however, and are well toward the front in 
matters of business. This being the case, it is presumed that 
Baptists were as well-to-do in the early times in Texas as other 
people. The people at that time owned some land, but this 
possessed very little value. Nearly all were poor; a fortune 
of $5,000 was colossal wealth. The average fortune was not 
far from $1,000. 

It is assumed that 250 of the 950 Baptists in Texas in 
1848 were slaves, and, of course, owned no property, thus 
reducing the number of white Baptists to TOO. Now, sup- 
pose they had been called on to raise $400,000 ? If they had 
contributed $500 each, which would have been perhaps one- 
half of all the property they possessed, they would have 
needed, $50,000 to finish the amount. 

The text for the first conventional sermon ever preached, 
as stated, was: "Of the increase of His Government and 
Peace there should be no end." On that occasion Eev. Z. K". 
Morrell predicted and drew a word picture of present condi- 
tions. As the colossal growth, indicated by these comparisons, 
is contemplated, and the soul swells with ineffable joy, our 
hearts should turn upward and our faces backward, while we 
praise Him for sending Heroes and Heroines to Texas, 
through whose sacrifices and self -forgetting the present condi- 
tion of the denomination was made possible. 

256 The Life and Writings of 


In 1852 Convention Meets in Marshall, -1853 in Hunts- 
ville At Both Meetings Dr. Burleson Renews His 
Efforts for the Establishment of a Paper His 
Report as Corresponding Secretary Reviews the 
Year's Work Baylor University Meetings of the 
Board of Directors J. W. D. Create, His Consecra- 
tion and Character His Saddle Horse, John the 
Baptist Dr. Burleson's Report for 1853 Work 
Encouraging Along All Lines Special Committee 
Appointed to Visit Baylor University President 
Burleson and Prof. Clark Made Honorary Mem- 
bers of the Convention. 

A T MARSHALL in 1852 Mr. Burleson renewed his 
gagSE efforts to induce the convention to establish a Baptist 
^Qg&gJ paper. In his new relation to the denomination as 
college President he felt more sensibly the pressing importance 
of this medium of presenting the progress of missions and edu- 
cation to the people. He believed in taking his constituents 
into his confidence. . If the enterprises entrusted to his direc- 
tion and management were prosperous, he wanted some means 
other than the laborious task of writing personal letters, 
through which to apprise the people. If these enterprises lan- 
guished, he wanted the friends to know the truth, as the best 
means of inducing them to redouble their efforts. The con- 
vention was not ready to guarantee success in the matter, nor 
to assume any financial responsibility, and the effort failed. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 257 

His report as Corresponding Secretary presented to the 
convention at Marshall was the most voluminous document 
yet considered by that body, and a paper of much interest at 
the same time. It showed the swelling tide of Baptist progress 
in missions, and included also the progress in education, a fea- 
ture not embodied in any report up to this time. 
Dear Brethren : 

"Another year has passed away, and our acts, labors of 
love, and shortcomings are all registered in the great book of 
God's remembrance, to be unrolled before an assembled uni- 
verse in that last day." 

"Reviewing carefully the labors and progress of our con- 
vention since 1851, we find some things to regret, but many 
others for which to be devoutly grateful to God. One of our 
most faithful missionaries, Rev. H. P. Mays, has fallen at his 
post. God has abundantly blessed the toils of some of our mis- 
sionaries in the conversion of many souls." 

"The quarterly as well as the called meetings of the Board 
have been well attended, and characterized by the spirit of 
harmony, love and zeal. Our efforts have been impeded con- 
siderably by the pecuniary embarrassments of the State, yet 
all the great objects of the convention have been moving on 
steadily, and gaining a deeper and stronger hold on the affec- 
tions of our churches and brethren." 

Here follows a very careful resume of the work of J. "W. 
D. Creath, A. Buffington, Noah Hill, A. Ledbetter, David 
Lewis and David Fisher, the six missionaries employed by the 
convention during that year. 

Appropriations Made to Associations. 

To Trinity River Association $100 

To Elm Fork Association 100 

To Red River Association 100 

To Cherokee Association 100 

"We have learned that these associations have already 
obtained missionaries, who are engaged successfully." 

****** * * * 


258 The Life and Writings of 

Important and Destitute Fields. 


'San Antonio and Seguin present a fine opportunity for 
a Baptist minister of deep piety and good intellect. The 
former is said to have a population of not less than 6,000, and 
the latter of about 1,000 or 1,500; they are about thirty miles 
apart. The citizens of these places and vicinity are intelli- 
gent and liberal, and it is believed if the right kind of a man 
was located there, almost his entire salary could be raised on 
the field, even for the first vear. But an ordinarv man need 
not be sent. It will be time and labor lost." 

"Bastrop, on the Colorado, presents another field 'white 
to the harvest.' It has about 1,000 inhabitants, and the vicin- 
ity is densely settled with an enterprising population. There 
are several influential Baptists on the field, who made liberal 
offers to a minister of our church. Rev. R. H. Taliaferro of 
Austin devotes a portion of his time to this interesting field, 
but the growing importance of this section of the State 
demands a pious and energetic man, devoted entirely to Bas- 
trop and vicinity. The villages and country on the coast, 
between the Brazos and Colorado rivers, are becoming daily 
more important. In all this wide, fertile and populous region 
we have but one preacher." 

"The counties in Northern Texas, bordering on Red 
river, is another equally destitute and important field. Thero 
are several small churches here that say they will support a 
minister if one can be found. But where is the man ?" 

The counties of Limestone and Freestone, left destitute 
by the death of our zealous and devoted Mays, ought to be 
supplied immediately. The interesting little churches he 
organized are now as sheep without a shepherd." 

"Brownsville, on the Rio Grande, has been abandoned 
by Brother J. H. "Wombwell, missionary of the Southern 
Board. We are fully convinced this point might become a 
place of great influence, on the Mexican and American popu- 
lation, if we could locate a man there of deep devotion, untir- 
ing energy and superior ability. But no other will do. 
Brethren, while the Macedonian cry sounds in our ear from so 
many important places, how can we, how dare we, stand idle? 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 259 

Something has been done, we grant, but our hearts are sad 
when we see so much undone." 


Baylor University. 

"We are happy to report this institution in a nourishing 
condition. It now has an able Faculty, and during the pres- 
ent scholastic year has enrolled one hundred and sixty-five 
students. The endowment of the Presidency has been raised 
to nearly ten thousand dollars. We have abundant reason to 
believe that this institution will become an ornament to Texas, 
and a rich blessing to our denomination. In accordance with 
the recent changes made by the Legislature in its charter, your 
Board has elected two Trustees Rev. G. W. Baines, to fill 
the place of James Hines, resigned, and J. W. Barnes, to fill 
the place of Orin B. Drake." 

We return to Corresponding Secretary Burleson's report 
for this year to introduce a statement of the results of the 
work of one missionary in the employment of the convention. 

"At the first meeting of the Board, held on the 19th of 
June, Elder J. W. D. Creath was appointed our missionary 
agent, at a salary of $400 a year and traveling expenses, whose 
duties should be as formerly, travel through the State, organ- 
ize new churches, do the work of an evangelist, awaken a 
deeper interest among the brethren for Home Missions, minis- 
terial education and all the great objects of this convention. 
The members of your Board are more and more convinced of 
the desirability of having Brother Creath to give his undivided 
time to this agency. We deeply regretted that circumstances 
seemed to render it impossible to secure his whole time. At a 
meeting held in December last, at Independence, at his re- 
quest, he was released for one-third of his time, to serve the 
Huntsville Church as pastor. Since which he has devoted but 
two-thirds of his time to our agency, the church at Huntsville 
and the Board bearing proportional parts of his salary. 
Though this arrangement has somewhat diminished Brother 
Creath's usefulness as our agent, yet he has rendered the con- 
vention valuable services, as the following report shows be- 
vond doubt." 

260 The Life and Writings of 

Report "I have traveled from June 17th, 1851, to June 
22d, 1852, 3,280 miles, preached 121 sermons, visited 246 
families, aided in ordaining two ministers, six deacons, consti- 
tuted two churches and witnessed the conversion of more than 
forty persons. I have raised $850 in cash and subscriptions, 
including the balance of unpaid subscription of $960. J?or 
the endowment of the Presidency of Baylor University I have 
raised $320, and collected for this institution $221." 

What a showing for only two-thirds of the time of this 
sublimely consecrated man of God, and what a lesson it should 
teach the modern preacher, who demands much larger pay 
for much less and much easier work. 

During the years Brother Creath represented the conven- 
tion as missionary and financial agent he traveled perhaps 
50,000 miles. He never used a vehicle of any kind, but rode a 
medium size, jet black horse that he called "John the Baptist." 
This horse had no fancy gaits, but moved along at the rate of 
four miles an hour, in what the old Texans called a "plain, 
flat-footed walk." When he visited a town or community, he 
paid no kind of attention to the social amenities of life until 
the "King's business" was attended to. The object of his 
visit disposed of, no man was more agreeable in the family 
circle. He did not dress as a minister, but wore a business 
suit of dark gray cloth, broad brim black slouch hat, deerskin 
gauntlets, and cloth leggings, tightly laced and fastened just 
above the knee. 

Before entering a town he decided where he would stop, 
and on reaching the place he rode to the front gate, dis- 
mounted, tied "John the Baptist," and if no person was in 
sight he threw his blanket and saddle bags across the fence, and 
hastened away to find the man with whom he had business. 
Often it would be midnight before he returned, but "John the 
Baptist" was as well known as his master, and suffered no 
neglect in his absence. 

Scores of times has this author, as a little bareheaded and 
barefooted boy, been called from his grapevine swing in the 
side yard, when this old weather-beaten missionary halted in 
front of his sainted parents' residence at Independence, and 
listened to these words : 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 261 

"Well, my little man, it makes no difference where I 
sleep, or what I have to eat, so your mother gives me molasses 
to put in my buttermilk, but John the Baptist takes me around 
to attend to the King's business, and I want him to have some 
water; then put him in a warm stall and give him plenty of 
corn and fodder." 

This request was always obeyed, but entirely unnecessary, 
for if there was one grain of corn or one blade of fodder on 
the place "John the Baptist" would be as sure to get it as his 
master to get the molasses for his buttermilk. 

The operations of the convention for 1853 are very 
succinctly stated by Secretary Burleson, from which the fol- 
lowing extracts are made : 

"It has been the fixed purpose of the Board to avoid pecu- 
niary embarrassments, feeling that debt would be a fearful 
calamity to our cause; hence we have confined our efforts 
entirely within our means, and have accomplished less mis- 
sionary labor than was accomplished last year. 

At our first meeting, held in Marshall immediately on the 
adjournment of the last convention, our indefatigable agent, 
Rev. J. W. D. Creath, was appointed General Missionary 
Agent. He accepted, on condition that he be allowed to 
devote one-third of his time to the pastoral care of the Hunts- 
ville Church, which was granted, provided the church would 
pay one-third of his salary, which the church consented to do. 

"Brother Creath has preached 102 sermons, delivered 
thirty-three exhortations, traveled 2,000 miles, attended 
twenty-five prayer-meetings, visited 230 families, ordained 
one minister, one deacon, raised for convention in subscrip- 
tion $1,000 cash, and aided twenty-five churches in procuring 

''Elder A. Buffmgton was reappointed missionary to the 
colored population in Anderson and its vicinity. He has 
labored during the whole year and has accomplished good. He 
has been greatly impeded in his labors for want of a house of 
worship. He has baptized five servants, and is still willing 
to labor gratuitously in this important part of our missionary 

"Elder A. Ledbetter was appointed missionary in the 
bounds of the Trinitv River Association at a salary of $100 

262 The Life and Writings of 

per year from this Board. He has traveled 1,632 miles, vis- 
ited thirty-five families, organized one Sunday-school, received 
fifteen members by letter, one by baptism, preached eighty-five 
sermons and delivered eighteen exhortations. 

"Elder David Fisher was reappointed at the meeting in 
Marshall for the country lying on the Brazos and Little river. 
He has traveled 1,600 miles, preached ninety-eight sermons, 
delivered twenty-eight exhortations, attended twenty-four 
prayer-iheetings, visited 125 families, baptized thirty-two 
persons, and received by letter sixteen. 

"The above embraces only about one-half of the mis- 
sionary work done under the auspices of your convention. The 
following appropriations were made : To the Colorado Asso- 
ciation, $100.00; Red River Association, $100.00; Soda Lake 
Association, $100.00; Elm Eork Association, $50.00; Chero- 
kee Association, $50.00. 

"These bodies, we learn, have employed missionaries, 
who have rendered important service in the bounds of their 
respective associations, yet no report has been made to your 
Board of their operations. 

"We would again urge upon the convention the impor- 
tance of a resolution passed last year, that no money be paid 
out of the funds in the treasury of this convention until the 
full report of the labor performed has been received. Such a 
regulation will be indispensable in making out a complete his- 
tory of the missionary labor performed under the auspices 
of this body. 


"Tour Board has exerted its utmost effort to employ 
some suitable agent for colporteur to distribute Bibles and 
Baptist books throughout Texas. We regard this work as 
being of much importance, and would suggest that this con- 
vention would continue its efforts in this direction until our 
denominational books are scattered over the wide State. We 
rejoice to be able to state that by the personal efforts of our 
general agent about $800 worth of our best publications have 
been circulated. 

Dr. Kufus C. Buklesox. 263 

Destitute Fields. 

''There are over one hundred destitute places without 
Baptist preaching and earnestly crying to us for the bread 
of life. Seguin, New Braunfels, San Antonio and Browns- 
ville and the counties in Northern Texas bordering on Bed 
River, and Southeastern Texas are destitute, and should be 
supplied as soon as possible. Your Board would earnestly 
recommend that not less than $2,000 be raised especially for 
Home Missions, and that four evangelists, two for Eastern and 
two for "Western Texas, be appointed, whose duties it shall be 
to devote their whole time to holding protracted meetings, 
organizing churches, and aiding them when organized to pro- 
cure regular pastors. In concluding our report, we can but 
express our heartfelt gratitude for the bright prospects around 
us. Everything gives signs of a glorious future. 

"Our beloved institution, Baylor University, was never 
in so flourishing a condition. Several talented and pious 
young men in our State are preparing for the ministry." 

At this session of the convention a special committee was 
appointed, of which the Rev. James EL Stribling was chair- 
man, to report more in detail as to the condition and needs of 
Baylor University. Dr. Burleson discussed the report of this 
committee, and took occasion to impress upon the minds of 
the delegates present the supreme importance of its success. 

I [e referred to the fact that while the university at that 
time had a Faculty of eight efficient teachers, and was goina: 
on from victory to victory, it was no time for its friends to 
abate their efforts in its behalf. He also referred to the fact 
that while a fund of $10,000 had been raised for Presidential 
endownrnent, and $8,000 in sight for the endowment of the 
chair of Natural Sciences, it was no time to stop, but to pi 
on, until the institution became the pride of every Texan, as 
well as the glory of Baptist liberality, patriotism and wisdom. 

A resolution was passed by the convention making Presi- 
dent Burleson and Rev. Horace Clark, Principal of the Female 
Department, honorary members of the Convention, and enti- 
tled to attend its meetings and enjoy all its privileges. The 
same resolution provided for the appointment of a committee 
by the convention to visit the institution at Independence, and 
report its condition at the next session. 

2G4 The Life and "Writings of 


Meeting of the State Convention in 1854 Baptist Af- 
fairs Reach the High Water Mar t: Baylor Univer- 
sity Reported by the Committee and Trustees to Be 
in a Flourishing Condition Bounding Report of Rev. 
Isaac Parks on Ministerial Education Annual Re- 
port of Corresponding Secretary Burleson Last 
Official Report to the Convention Tenders His 
Resignation to Devote Himself to the Interest of 
the School Recommends Rev. J. B. Stiteler as His 
Successor Rev. C. H. Stiteler Elected. 

I HE Baptist State Convention met in Palestine June 

Bass 17th, 1854. Rev. James Huckins was elected Presi- 

iS) dent, J. W. D. Creath, J. M. Maxey and S. G. 

O'Brien, Vice-Presidents. Dr. G. W. Baines, Recording 

Secretary, Rufns C. Burleson, Corresponding Secretary, and 

General James W. Barnes, Treasurer. 

Judging from the proceedings which have been freely 
consulted, Baptist affairs in Texas over which the convention 
exercised jurisdiction had reached the high water mark. All 
the committees were prepared with reports upon the various 
phases of the work with which they were expected to deal. 
The report of S. G. O'Brien, G. W. Baines and J. W. D. 
Creath, on Foreign Missions, Rev. H. Garrett on Home Mis- 
sions, John O. "Walker on Conditions of the Colored Popula- 
tion, S. G. O'Brien on Books and Periodicals, J. "W. D. Creath 
on the Constitution, D. B. Morrill on the State of Religion 
generally in Texas. H. Garrett on Condition of Baylor Uni- 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 265 

versity, J. V. Wright on Temperance, J. V. Wright on Sab- 
bath Schools, Isaac Parks on Education, Rufus C. Burleson, 
Proceedings of the Board of Directors, were all highly inter- 
esting documents and worthy of their great authors, and the 
great cause of Christianity. 

However, only those that touch the career of Dr. Bur- 
leson, will be noticed. 

Report of the Board of Trustees of Baylor University. 

"In compliance with the request of your body, I lay be- 
fore you as nearly as possible the condition of Baylor Univer- 
sity. This institution was founded chiefly by the instrument- 
ality of the lamented Wm. M. Tryon, and was charted by the 
Republic of Texas in 1845. And though it has had the many 
difficulties of a new and thinly settled country to contend with, 
yet the progress of the sehool has met the expectations of its 
most sanguine friends. Our institution is almost the only one 
in the state that has not been subject to great fluctuations, and 
changes of prosperity and adversity. Its progress has beeu 
gradual, permanent and upward. 

"This fact has been owing under God, to the harmonious 
action and feeling of the Board of Trustees, the liberality of 
Texans, the energy and zeal of its Teachers and Professors. 
The institution has now two buildings about three-quarters 
of a mile apart, one for the male, the other for the female 
departments. The Presidency and chair of natural science 
have received a partial endowment of about ten thousand dol- 
lars each, the interest of which, at 8 per cent., supports in part 
Rufus C. Burleson, the President, and J. B. Stiteler, Pro- 
fessor of natural science. The other Professors in the male 
department are sustained entirely by the receipts from tui- 

"The Female Department is under the direction of Rev. 
H. Clark, and is in a flourishing condition. The number of 
students in both Departments, is between one hundred and 
eighty, or one hundred and ninety, and it is confidently be- 
lieved that this number will be increased to two hundred and 
forty before the year closes. 

266 The Life and "Writings of 

r i 

'This large patronage, with the interest accruing from 
the endowment, enables the Trustees to employ four able 
teachers in the Male Department and four in the Female. 
The institution is supplied with new and superior apparatus, 
and a well selected library; and the Hon. Sam Houston has 
tendered to the institution, the free use of his large and well 
selected library, which affords good facilities for students. 

''The property of the institution is estimated to be worth 
about $40,000, a part of which consists in lands of increasing 
value. There are three young preachers in the institution, 
preparing for the full work of the Gospel Ministry. Tuition 
is free to all the children of Ministers of the Gospel. * * * 

President Board Trustees. 
Rev. H. Garrett was a very conservative and successful 
business man, and distinguished for his coolness, good sense 
and fine judgment. His favorable report on the condition 
and prospects of Baylor University enthused the committee 
appointed on Ministerial Education, who presented to the 
convention the following bounding report: 

Brethren: The committee to whom was referred the 
subject of Ministerial Education and Baylor University, have 
had the same under consideration and have instructed me to 
make the following report : 

We. congratulate our brethren upon the interest they are 
taking in this important subject. This subject is engaging the 
pra} r erful attention of Baptists throughout our entire country. 
Our hearts are made to rejoice on account of the multiplied 
facilities afforded our pious young brethren for intellectual 
training, who have the ministry in view. Brethren, while 
we feel grateful to God for the prosperity which has attended 
our efforts in this department of Christian enterprise, let us 
ever remember that an unsanctified ministry is one of the 
greatest curses to the church and the world. It is not merely 
developed intellect that the age requires. We want men of 
educated hearts men who have been thoroughly taught in the 
heaven-inspiring doctrine of experimental religion men who 
feel "Woe is me if I preach not the gospel." Let such be 
sought out, and let them have such advantages of improvement 

Dr. Kufus C. Burleson-. 267 

as circumstances will justify, and God will bless us in our ris- 
ing ministry. We are happy to inform the Convention that 
we have three or four such young brethren now at Baylor Uni- 
versity, whom the love of Christ constraining, are studying in 
order that they may be efficient ambassadors of Christ. 

But the Committees are profoundly impressed with the 
conviction that we ought to look to the matured ranks of so- 
ciety for men already educated, pursuing various vocations in 
life. How many pious men have we in the different walks of 
]ife, who have had the benefits of education. They are pious, 
and may we not approach many such and say the Master hath 
need of thee to preach the gospel. We may thus awaken a 
series of holy reflections and pious meditation, that will cause 
some, at least, to leave the learned professions and follow 
Christ in the preaching of the gospel. May the Lord of the 
harvest send forth from all the ranks of society, holy men, 
godly men, to preach Jesus to the perishing multitudes of 

The Committee refer the Convention to the report of the 
President of the Board of Trustees of Baylor University, as 
to the conditions and prospects of that institution. We bless 
God that Baptists in this great confederacy of States, are doing 
so much in the cause of education. The following statistics 
will give some idea what the great Baptist family are doing 
in this work. 

It is estimated that within the last six vears, one million 
five hundred thousand dollars have been subscribed towards 
the endowment of Baptist Colleges and Seminaries in this wide 
land. The whole number of instructors is 154; students over 
2,500. They have graduated over 4,000 students in all, and 
their libraries contain more than 120,000 volumes. May we 
not bless God and take courage ? 

ISAAC PARKS, Chairman. 

The annual report of Corresponding Secretary, Rufus C. 
Burleson, was then, and still remains the most interesting 
feature of the proceedings of the convention, as it presents 
more in detail, the work of the year, and hence gives a clearer 
insight into the trials, troubles and triumphs of those who were 
in the saddle. 

268 The Life and Writings of 

This was to be his last report as Corresponding Secretary 
of the convention, and was very elaborate and complete. 

Since many subjects were covered by Rev. H. Grarrett, 
President of the Board of Trustees of Baylor University, in 
his report, and Rev. Isaac Parks in his report as Chairman of 
the Committee on Ministeral Education, the paper of Dr. Bur- 
leson is abridged to avoid repetition. 

"Brother Creath has rendered valuable services to the 
convention during the past year, by correspondence and other 
gratuitous labors, yet we feel it is of vital importance to have 
an efficient agent, whose whole time and undivided energies 
can be devoted to the interests of this Convention. 

Reports of Missionaries. 

In accordance with instructions of the last convention, 
your board made every effort to procure evangelists for East- 
ern and Western Texas, whose duty should be to visit the 
destitute neighborhoods, villages and cities, preach and hold 
protracted meetings, organize churches, and assist them in 
procuring pastors. After considerable consultation and the 
most diligent efforts, we were unable to secure two evangelists 
for Eastern Texas. Elder A. W. Elledge, of Hallettsville, 
and Rev. R. H. Taliaferro, of Austin, consented to become 
Evangelists for West Texas, provided ministers could be se- 
cured to fill their pulpits. They entered on the work under 
some embarrassments, and labored together for two months. 
They traveled together 650 miles, constituted one church, 
ordained one minister of the Gospel, preached fifty-five ser- 
mons, delivered twenty-eight exhortations, visited eighty fami- 
lies, and baptized six persons. 

Brother Elledge while laboring separately, has preached 
sixteen sermons, delivered ten exhortations, visited twenty 
families, and witnessed the conversion and baptism of seven- 
teen persons and labored twenty days during the month. 

Brother Taliaferro has labored separately for two months, 
but from some cause no definite report has been received by 
the Corresponding Secretary. We regret exceedingly that 
these brethren were compelled either from domestic cares or 
church relations, to discontinue their labors as evangelists for 

Dr. Rufus C. Burlesox. 269 

we are more deeply convinced than ever of the vast importance 
of sending- out evangelists, two and two together, to visit 
and labor in destitute places. We may state that our plan of 
evangelizing failed entirely for want of men, as the most ample 
means could have been secured for their support. 

Elder David Fisher was reappointed as Missionary for the 
important counties lying on the Brazos and Little "River?, with 
a salary of $200 a year from this Board and $200 from the 
Southern Board at Marion, Ala. He has traveled 2412 
miles, preached 151 sermons, delivered 172 exhortations, at- 
tended thirty-seven prayer meetings, visited 650 persons and 
families, baptized thirty-three converts, received thirty-three 
into the fellowship of the church by letter, organized one 
church and ordained one minister. 

Elder A. Buffington was reappointed to labor gratuit- 
ously among the colored population in Grimes county, but no 
report of his labors has been received by your Board. 

Elder Benjamin Clark was appointed at the first meeting 
of the Board at Huntsville, as missionary for Robertson 
county, also to act as colporteur for the circulation of the 
Bible and religious books, on a salary of $100 per year from 
this board. He has rendered very efficient service. He has 
traveled 1,523 miles, preached seventy-five sermons, delivered 
seventeen exhortations, attended eleven prayer meetings, 
baptized four persons, received twenty-four into the churches 
by letter, aided in ordaining three deacons, constituted two 
churches and visited fifty-one families. 

Elder James Huckins, was appointed missionary for Gal- 
veston and vicinity, to receive $100 from this board, and the 
remainder of the salary to be made up by the Church at Gal- 
veston and the Southern Board. He has supplied the Church 
and colored congregation of that city, and for the last eight 
months has filled regular appointments in the vicinity of San 
Jacinto, where there are some fifteen scattered Baptists. He 
has preached 128 sermons, attended 1-14 prayer meetings, 
baptized fifteen persons, made 602 religious visits, traveled 900 
miles, and reports the Church in Galveston as being in better 
condition than ever before, and the one at San Jacinto as one 
of great destitution but of considerable promise, and an in- 

270 The Life ^kd Writings of 

teresting state of religion in the colored congregation at Gal- 

For the Bethlehem Association, $100 was appropriated to 
aid in sustaining a missionary. They have secured the ser- 
vices of Brother E. A. Phelps who has labored forty-nine days, 
preached forty-six sermons, visited sixty families, delivered 
seven exhortations, traveled 1,447 miles and reports the pros- 
pect as encouraging at several points. 

Baylor University. 

Your Board rejoices to be able to state, that this institu- 
tion is still in a flourishing condition, increasing in public con- 
fidence, and its facilities for imparting thorough instruction in 
every department of education. Your Board would suggest 
that your body appoint a committee of five to visit the insti- 
tution, examine carefully into its whole condition and report 
at our next meeting. 

Important and Destitute Fields. 

Your Board rejoices to ]earn that some of the destitute 
places mentioned in our last report are now supplied with 
pious and efficient ministers. But the destitution is still great; 
Brownsville, San Antonio, Indianola, Port Lavaca and Rich- 
mond are still without Baptist preaching. There are a few 
Baptists in each of these places, and if they could be supplied 
with a faithful ministry, doubtless efficient churches might be 
established in each of these towns. There is also vast desti- 
tution and loud calls for Baptist Ministers in the counties 
lying on Bed River. Your Board is often sad to behold this 
universal destitution without the means to supply it. 

Distribution of Religious Books. 

Your Board is glad to report that they have been able at 
last to employ an efficient colporteur to distribute denomina- 
tional books. We have employed Brother John Clabaugh for 
this important work, on a salary of $250 a year. He has al- 
ready sold about $300 worth of our best publications, and 
will doubtless be able to sell $1,200 or $1,500 worth during the 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 271 

year. A small per cent on the books sold will more than pay 
his salary. We are glad to learn that there is a strong and al- 
most universal desire for religious works especially books of a 
devotional character." 

After the convention had received, discussed and dis- 
posed of the report of Corresponding Secretary Burleson, he 
placed the following communication on the Recording Secre- 
tary's table, which was heard with sincere regrets. The force 
of his reasons for tendering his resignation, was appreciated 
by the delegates, as it was understood that the growing con- 
dition of Baylor University rendered its demands on his time 
as President, more exacting. 

To the Baptist State Convention: 

Dear Brethren: For six years you have honored me 
with the office of Corresponding Secretary. The duties of this 
office I have discharged to the best of my ability. But my in- 
creasing labors and responsibility in another department of 
Christian effort, renders it impracticable for me to serve you 
longer as Corresponding Secretary. And as I desire the labors 
and honors of the convention should be equally divided among 
all the brethren, allow me to resign the office, and suggest that 
Brother J. B. Stiteler be elected to this responsible position. 
Ever and devotedly yours, ; 


272 The Life and Writings of 


Importance of the Office of Corresponding Secretary 
All Work Done Largely Under His Advice Mr. 
Burleson Having no Precedents, Blazed His Own 
Way, Made His Own Path Attends Meeting of the 
Union Association Writes the Circular Letter 
Preaches the Introductory Sermon Delivers the 
Semi-Centennial Address at Sealy in 1890 Return 
to Convention Report of Committee on Education 
Indian Missions Pioneers Thoroughly Saturated 
with the Spirit Committee Appointed to Open Cor- 
respondence with the Board of Managers of the 
American Indian Mission Association. 


HEN" the convention was organized the Corresponding- 
Secretary was the most responsible officer in that 
body, and as already observed, remains so up to this 
time. The Board of Directors appoint the missionaries and 
agents of the convention, and exercise general supervisory 
control of all its enterprises and operations; but it is no super- 
lation of the duties of this official to say, that they do so largely 
upon his recommendation, and his judgment on all matters, is 
largely deferred to. He devotes his entire time to a close study 
of the situation, is conversant with wants of the field, in close, 
and almost constant touch with the missionaries and agents. 
The members of the Board being fully apprised of this fact, 
look to him for counsel, and act on his advice. 

Mr. Burleson filled this position from the date of the 
organization of the convention, September the 8th, 1848, until 
June the 17th, 1854. The duties of the position were by no 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 273 

means so extensive then as now, but possibly more arduous and 
difficult to discharge. Texas was a new country, the popula- 
tion a heterogeneous mass, the convention a new proposition 
in religious work, and Mr. Burleson comparatively a young 
man. There were no established rules to guide him, and no 
successful plans to follow. He was thus forced to rely largely 
upon his own resourceful nature; to blaze the way, make a 
path, ordain rules, originate plans, and devise means. "His 
original cast of mind, relied on the fundamental principles of 
truth. Anxious not requiring proof, causes clearly effective, 
effects undoubtedly linked to causes, principles took possession 
of his mind, and were more potent in reaching conclusions, and 
inducing conclusions in others, than a whole library of prece- 
dents and authorities," even if they had been at his command. 

Mr. Burleson was equal to the demands made upon his 
resources. The situation and conditions were carefully studied 
and mastered. He was familiar with every portion of the 
field, and advanced with the steadiness and courage of a vet- 
eran. Plans were adopted, rules formulated, and precedents 
established that have been valuable in all the after history of 
this great body. 

With the acceptance of his resignation as Corresponding 
Secretary, his official connection with the convention for a 
time was eventuated. But his interest in its work was by no 
means abated. He continued to attend the meetings, and 
participated actively in its deliberations. Not only was he 
interested in the work of the convention, but felt a deep con- 
cern for the success of all Christian effort being put forth at 
that time in the State. And after assisting in forming the 
convention, he attended the meeting of the Union Associa- 
tion held at Independence September 28th, 1848, sixteen days 
after the first session of the convention adjourned. Here he 
took hold of the work without hesitancy, and in addition to 
being placed on several committees, was appointed to write the 
Circular Letter of the Association for the session of 1849, at 

At this meeting he was also honored by being chosen to 
preach the introductory sermon of the Association, to be held 
with the Providence Church, near Chappell Hill, October the 
3d, 1850. Through all the succeeding years of the history of 


274 The Life ahd Wettings of 

this pioneer body, the name of Buf us C. Burleson, appears 
regularly and conspicuously in the record of its proceedings. 
And he had the pleasure, and honor of delivering the address, 
on the occasion of the celebration of the semi-centennial an- 
niversary of this Old Mother Body, at Sealy, August 17th, 

Dr. Burleson's address on that occasion was so replete 
with denominational history, and contains so many references 
to important civic events, that copious extracts are made from 
it, feeling that all will be interested in its perusal. 

"We have assembled on this hold Sabbath evening to re- 
view and commemorate the blessings of God, on this vener- 
able Association, for the last half century. 

"Let us in the beginning of this service, keep in mind 
two great facts : 1st. No society, no association, no nation, 
ever became really great without commemorative days. Who 
can estimate the value of the anniversary of the battle of San 
Jacinto to Texas or the 4th of July to the American people." 
Borne and England in part attained their great power by com- 
memorating great events in their history. 

The most solemn service of God's ancient Israel, were 
days and feasts commemorating the glorious events of the past, 
and filling the Jewish heart with praises to God. The two 
great ordinances in Christ's Church, to be kept until He 
comes again, are to commemorate the dying, bleeding love of 
our dear Bedeemer." 

"But let us never forget the second great truth, that the 
true end of all anniversaries, and especially of this semi-cen- 
tennial service, is to fill the heart with glowing love to God, 
and to inspire all hearts with a burning desire to carry forward 
with grander success, the work begun by our Fathers, fifty 
years ago. The end of this service will not be attained, unless 
we go from this house praying, 'nearer my God to Thee, nearer 
to Thee.' 

It is a pleasing and thrilling coincidence, that the fiftieth 
anniversary of the organization of Union Association, is held 
in a place, surrounded by some of the most glorious events in 
Texas history. Live miles east of this place is San Felipe, the 
first town ever built by Anglo-Americans on Texas soil. There 
the first Masonic Lodge in Texas was organized. There the 

Dr. Rufus C. Burlesox. 275 

first Sabbath School in Texas was founded in 1827 by our 
sainted brother and Baptist deacon, Thomas J. Pilgrim. There 
the first Texas newspaper, "The Star and Telegraph," was 
established by Gail Borden, for many years deacon of the 
First Baptist Church in Galveston, and discoverer of Con- 
densed Milk, a great blessing to the human family. There, 
too, assembled in December, 1835, the general consultation 
that inaugurated Texas Independence from Mexican misrule. 
San Felipe was the capital of Texas till burned to ashes by 
Santa Anna., the bloody invader, in 183 G. Ten miles north 
of this place once stood the humble but hospitable home of 
Moses Shipman, in which Elder Joseph Bayes, a Baptist, 
preached, in 1825, the first gospel sermon in Texas. In that 
same house, two years later, 1827, our beloved and venerable 
Sister James Allcorn was converted under the preaching of 
Rev. Thos. Hanks, a Baptist. This was the first public pro- 
fession ever known in Texas. This beloved sister, after spend- 
ing sixty-three years in the service of God and of Texas, died 
just one week ago, and went home to heaven. Twenty miles 
north once stood the town of Travis where this Association, the 
mother of all our Associations, and the mother of all great 
Baptist enterprises in Texas, was organized in 1840. It was 
small in numbers, but mighty in faith and noble deeds. There 
were present only three preachers: Elders R. E. B. Baylor, 
Thos. "W. Cox and J. J. Davis, and three churches represented, 
Independence, LaGrange and Travis. Our grand old pioneer, 
Elder Z. X. Morrell, would have been present as a member 
from Plum Grove, Fayette county, but he was prostrate on a 
bed of sickness by over-exertion in fighting and chasing In- 
dians and Mexicans awav from the families of Texas. It is 
not to be wondered that this infant Association, born amid 
'such stirring events and surroundings, should, like the infant 
Hercules, begin even in the cradle to strangle the venomous 
beasts of heresy and resolve to send the gospel into every 
neighborhood in Texas. Though surrounded by hostile In- 
dians and Mexicans and in deep poverty, they sent out Brother 
A. Buffington to preach the gospel between the Brazos and 
Trinity, and Rev. 1ST. T. Byars and Richard Ellis to preach 
the gospel in all the region west of the Colorado. But they 
found that they were utterly unable to supply the vast throng 

276 The Life and Writings of 

of immigrants and the widely scattered settlements over this 
vast empire State. And, remembering that an appeal sent out 
in 1837 by Brethren Jas. R. Jenkins, A. Buffing-ton and H. R. 
Cartmell had touched the great heart of Jesse Mercer, of 
Georgia, and induced him to donate $2,500 to begin a Texas 
mission, and this money enabled the Home Mission Board of 
New York to send Wm. M. Tryon, Jas. Huckins, B. B. Bax- 
ter and R. H. Taliaferro to Texas. This second appeal was 
made to the Southern Baptist Convention, organized at Au- 
gusta, Ga., in 1845. That Convention of Southern Baptists 
responded warmly to this appeal, and sent, in 1847, what Z. 
N". Morrell, in his great book, ''Flowers and Fruits," calls "a 
whole ship-load of preachers." Of that number were Elders 
P. B. Chandler, Noah Hill, Jesse Witt, J. W. D. Creath, J. F. 
Hilyer and Henry L. Graves, as Missionary President of Bay- 
lor University. Rufus C. Burleson belonged to the same 
cargo, but he came seven months later. The Southern Baptist 
Convention, in their great zeal for Texas, also agreed to sup- 
port Elders Z. K Morrell, 1ST. T. Byars, Richard Ellis, Wm. 
M. Tryon, Jas. Huckins, R. H. Taliaferro, Wm. Pickett, Jas. 
H. Stribling and D. B. Morrill, already laboring successfully 
in Texas. 

* * * * -:f # # * 

"The Southern Baptist convention in its ardent zeal to 
supply the great destitution in this Empire State, has gen- 
erously donated more than $100,000, and has placed all 
Texas under an everlasting debt of love and gratitude, which 
she can only repay, by earnestly co-operating in its efforts to 
evangelize the world." 

But the heroic and far-seeing fathers of this Association, 
in their profound wisdom, saw, and deeply felt the necessity 
for Christian education, for the pious training of the Sons and 
Daughters of Texas, and especially for educating the rising 
young preachers of the State. They therefore resolved, at the 
second annual session, to found a Texas Baptist education 
society, that led to a great Baptist University, that will stand 
as a Gibraltar to Baptist faith, as long as the flowers bloom on 
our vast prairies, or the waves of the gulf dash on our shores. 
In all the struggles of our Martyr Church for 1,800 years no 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 277 

grander sight was ever displayed. Six hundred Baptists, sur- 
rounded by 8,000,000 angry Mexicans on the west and 60,000 
hostile Indians on the north, resolving to found a great Uni- 
versity. And as our heroic fathers believed more in the Book 
of Acts, than in the Book of Resolutions, they procured a 
charter, and located Baylor University on the beautiful live 
oak hills of Independence. This town was then the most 
central and accessible place in all the settled portion of the 

Baylor University thus located, poured forth a stream of 
learning, piety and patriotism for forty years. They were 
educated in it, many of the grandest men and noblest women 

Texas ever saw. 


"In the early days and struggles of Texas Baptists, this 
dear old Association not only led in organizing the great en- 
terprises of missions, education, journalism, Sabbath Schools 
and col portage, but was a generous contributor in every good 
work. The records of the old State Convention will show 
clearly that for the first seven years of the State Conven- 
tion the members of the Union Association contributed from 
one-half to three-fourths of all the money given for missions 
and ministerial education. When we review the history of this 
Association for the last fifty years, we can but exclaim : "What 
hath God wrought?" And with joyous hearts we ought to-day 
to erect an Ebenezer and shout: "Hitherto hath the Lord 
-helped us." Fifty years ago there was one little Association 
and three churches and three preachers. To-day there are over 
one hundred Associations with thirteen hundred churches and 
fourteen hundred ministers and two hundred thousand church 



"A grand factor in the wonderful success of Texas has 
been Christian education. In this great work, Texas Baptists 
have excelled, and continue to excel, all other denominations, 
and the State herself, with her millions of money. The won- 
derful success of Texas Baptists demonstrates the fact that the 
men who educate the youth of the State control the State. 

In conclusion, dear brethren, after reviewing the last 
fifty years, let us thank God and take courage and resolve, by 

278 The Life and Writings of 

Cod's help, that xhe next fifty years shall be more glorious 
than the last fifty. If our brethren, with only three little 
churches and three preachers and ninety-two members, sur- 
rounded by 8,000,000 hostile Mexicans and 60,000 Indians, 
increased two-thousand-fold in fifty years, what may we not 
do by 1940 ? Can we not establish a Baptist Church and Sab- 
bath School in every neighborhood of Texas and girdle thi? 
entire planet with Texas Baptist missionaries? 

Let us, to-day, banish every root of bitterness and all 
strife far away from us; let us, in honor, prefer one another; 
let us stand firmly on the old landmarks established by Christ 
and His apostles; let us resolve to ever preach "Jesus only, 
Jesus only," then, when our children shall assemble, per- 
chance on this very spot, to celebrate the 100th anniversary 
of this dear old Association, our beloved Texas will be the 
greatest, wisest, holiest State between the oceans, and, filled 
with millennial light and glory and Baptist Churches, shall 
shine as the stars of heaven. For which let us ever pray, and 
toil, and sacrifice our time, our means, and, if need be, our 

Returning to the eighth annual session of the State Con- 
vention held at Independence in 1855, two reports are re- 
produced, in which Dr. Burleson was much interested. Like 
all his published documents, they afford an insight into the 
events of the times, and development of denominational char- 

Report of Committee on Education. 

"Your committee to whom was referred the subject of 
education, beg leave to report as follows : That while they 
hope and pray that the time may never come, that mental 
cultivation, either in the ministry or laity, shall take the place 
of holiness of heart, the real in-dwelling of the Holy Ghost; 
that while they should regard such a state of things as fatal 
to the salvation of the soul, and to every interest dear to the 
heart of the Redeemer, still, they are impressed with the neces- 
sity of our presenting to the world a highly intelligent laity, 
and a ministry profoundly learned. The age is advancing, 
and the church and the ministry must be advancing, in order 
to meet the necessities of the age. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 279 

The Gospel must be carried to every nation, kingdom, 
tribe and people. To comprehend this work, and to do it, we 
must have education, deep thorough, and extensive. Infidelity 
is, in every new age, assuming some new shape is attaching 
itself to some new branch of learning. To wrest its weapons 
from its mighty hands, and to turn them with potency against 
itself, we must have learning. And more; we, as a denomina- 
tion, have the truth we are the only denomination that has 
the whole truth, so far as the ordinances of church organization 
are concerned; hence, we have the religious world against us. 
]STow, to silence this opposition to give to the world the pure 
word and a pure gospel we must have learning. Hence we 
regard the Baptist denomination as under solemn obligations 
to give to the world, and all coming generations, to present to 
the world a pious laity and a holy ministry, armed with all the 
graces of the spirit, and at the same time furnished with all that 
science and learning can do towards aiding him in his great 
work. Hence, we would recommend to all our churches, that 
they foster, with pious solicitude and generous sacrifice, our 
own beloved University; that they sustain our paper, and that 
they furnish themselves and their families, well selected lib- 
raries; that they, by every lawful means, encourage a taste for 
reading, and that they seek to form habits of thought among 
the children -the rising generation. 




~No people were ever more thoroughly saturated with the 
spirit of Missions than the early Texas Baptists. There was 
not a people of any tongue or tribe in the state, to whom 
their attention wa? not turned, and to whom they did not offer 
the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Much of their time had been em- 
ployed in standing guard over their families, and crops, to 
prevent the first named from being butchered by the Indians, 
and their crops being wasted. They often followed the plow 
with their trusty rifles swinging to one handle, to prevent 
themselves from being ruthlessly slaughtered. Neither was it 
an uncommon occurrence for them to carry their guns to the 

280 The Life and "Writings of 

church and worship God with a Bible, or Hymn Book in one 
hand, and their rifles in the other. 

Notwithstanding, they were as eager to give the Gospel to 
the Indians, as if they had been the recipients of naught save 
love at their hands. The solicitude for the salvation, and 
spiritual welfare of these people, is indicated by the following 
report : 

Report of Special Committee on Indian Missions. 

"Your committee was appointed to report on the condi- 
tion of those Indians, especially, near Fort Belknap, who are 
under the supervision of the government of the United States. 
There are portions of seventeen different tribes of Indians, 
settled near Fort Belknap, who are now under the supervision 
of agents appointed by the Executive of the United States. 
They are provided with bread and beef by our government, 
and are being taught agricultural and other industrial pur- 

"The crop of com made by the Indians this year was 
good, considering the great drouth. This gives promise of 
what they may do in future. But the government takes no 
oversight of their religious interest. Nor should it. This 
duty is binding on Christians, as such. Owing to our proxi- 
mity to them, it is our duty under God, to do what we can for 
their religious condition, and respectfully call the attention of 
the Indian Mission Board to this subject. We recommend 
that the Committee or Board appoint some brother, whose duty 
it shall be to visit those tribes, with the permission of the 
agent, and ascertain the propriety of establishing a Mission 
among them, and the probability of finding interpreters, such 
as will enable a minister of Christ to commence early preach- 
ing to them, and to report the result of his visit to the com- 
mittee or board. 


Chairman of the Committee." 

The above report was the subject of an interesting dis- 
cussion by the delegates present. Dr. Burleson introduced the 
following resolution, which was adopted: 

Resolved further, That the Board of Managers be re- 
quested to open a correspondence with the American Indian 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 281 

Mission Association on the importance on establishing an In- 
dian Mission in the limits of Texas, and that this convention 
pledges its hearty co-operation in supporting the same. 

General James W. Barnes the Treasurer, submitted his 
annual report which covered every item of disbursement dur- 
ing the year, and the source from which all money had been 
received. The finances had kept pace with the advance along 
all other lines. The report showed $2,141.84 had been re- 
ceived, $1,972.09 had been paid out, leaving a balance of 
$169.75 in cash in the treasury. 

282 The Life and Writings of 


Convention Ready to Place Any Honor at Dr. Burleson's 
Command Elected Vice-President in 1856 A Jubi- 
lee Session Last Paragraph in the Proceedings 
H. Clark and P. B. Chandler the only Known Sur- 
vivors of These Early Conventions Convention 
Adjourned to Meet in Caldwell, but Place Changed 
to huntsville on account of severe drought con- 
VENTION of 1857 General Houston a Delegate and 
Offers Report on Indian Missions Romantic Chap- 
ter in Gen. Houston's Life Lives with the Indians 
Conversant with Indian Character, and Competent 
to Discuss Indian Missions Dr. Burleson's Report 
and Resolution on Indian Missions Dr. H. F. Buck- 
ner, and His Consecrated Co-Laborers. 

*"| HE convention was ready to place any honor at Mr. 
rT . y> -.,^ Burleson's command he might desire, but owing to 
SagSB l onerous and growing school duties he could not ac- 
cept an office that involved any considerable work. When, 
however, it came to the election of officers, at the session held 
in Anderson, October 26th, 1856, he was made one of the Vice- 

It was here the convention had been organized eight years 
before, and this was made something of a jubilar occasion. 
Mr. Burleson led off, and many others followed in eloquent 
addresses, in which the onward and upward tendency of Bap- 
tist affairs in Texas, was amplified. 

Dr. Rufus C. ^Bukleson. 283 

Turning to the old M. S. record of the proceedings of 
this session, the following closing paragraph is copied, to show- 
how the spirits of these early saints flowed, on that noted 
occasion : 

"After singing a parting hymn, and giving each other the 
parting hand, and a fervent prayer by Rev. Henry L. Graves, 
the convention adjourned to meet at Caldwell, Burleson 
county, on Saturday before the fourth Sabbath in October, 

''And thus ended one of the most pleasant and harmonious 
sessions of this body. A spirit of brotherly love eminently 
characterized all its discussions, and an ardent desire to pro- 
mote the Redeemer's Kingdom, seemed to pervade every ac- 
tion. So may it ever be; and when our work, brethren, shall 
be done, may it be well done, and well approved by our Di- 
vine Lord and Master." 

Recording Secretary. 

The man who forty-five years ago, penned the above, is 
still alive, 83 years old, and awaits with complacency the com- 
mand of that Divine Lord, to whom he referred to come up, 
and enjoy unending rest as the reward of a well spent life. 
There may be more, but the only other man now living, De- 
cember 20th, 1901, the day on which this chapter is written, 
who participated in these early conventions, is that noble old 
Roman, P. B. Chandler, now 85 years old. 

Ah ! but these old sanctified spirits, and saintly souls, who 
then lived in the brush, read their Bibles by torchlights, rode 
hundreds of miles to these meetings on horseback, staked their 
horses and slept under trees en route, raised their children on 
sheep skins, lived on bread and the promises of God, gave to 
missions, and sold rawhides to raise the money, and worshiped 
God on puncheon floors, may have been, and doubtless were 
deprived of many of the luxuries, and even comforts which the 
people enjoy to-day, but their souls were mellow with the 
Love of God, and they so lived, that they could reach out, 
day or night, and catch His Divine hand. 

As noticed the convention adjourned at Anderson to meet 
in Caldwell, but a foot note to the proceedings says, "in con- 

284 The Life and "Writings of 

sequence of a severe drought prevailing in Burleson county, 
the place for holding the session of the convention in 1857, 
was changed to Huntsville, "Walker county." The convention 
therefore met in Huntsville October 24th, 1857, and remained 
in session four days. 

Mr. Burleson presented the report of the committee on 
Sunday Schools, which is here given for the reasons, that we 
have not heretofore referred to his advocacy and love for this 
institution, and second, because the report is a most excellent 

Report on Sabbath Schools. 

Sabbath Schools have long since lost the charm of nov- 
elty, and your committee are impressed deeply with the con- 
viction that their importance is overlooked and also that we are 
falling into some fatal errors. We will therefore present the 
following dictates and suggestions for your prayerful consid- 
eration : 

First. That all human experience demonstrates that 
early impressions are most powerful and usually fix our destiny 
for good or evil, for eternal joy or misery. Geologists find that 
when the molded lava is first thrown up and in a formative 
state that a little sparrow lighting upon it will leave its foot- 
prints for thousands of years; so with the moral want when first 
cast upon the shores of time. Impressions then made usually 
give a moral tinge or coloring which grow brighter or blacker 
not only in time but forever. 

In view of these facts statesmen and philosophers have 
ever felt the deepest solicitude for the rising generation. 
Roman mothers were so careful on this point that they would 
not commit their sons and daughters to any but the most 
eminent for purity and patriotism. Sparta provided for the 
education of the youth at the public expense. Luther charged 
his co-laborers "be sure to train the children." "Take care 
of the children and success is sure." The great and good Dr. 
Watts spent years of his life in composing "sacred songs for 
the children," and nothing in his whole life indicates more 
clearly his profound wisdom. 

But One, greater than all the statesmen, poets and di- 
vines said, "Suffer little children to come unto me and forbid 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 285 

them not." And when he takes them up in His arms and 
blesses them, He leaves an example never to be forgotten nor 
to be neglected. In view of such facts how painful is it to 
learn that a number of churches have no Sabbath Schools and 
no means for the religious instruction for the youth, and 
learn, too, how many of our members and even preachers are 
never seen in the Sunday School, while scores of children 
wander about the streets and neighborhood "corrupting with 
one another." Our endurance and neglect is rendered more 
fearful from the course of the enemies of religion. 

Infidels following ;he example of Voltaire and Volney 
are exerting every power by books, periodicals, "and philos- 
ophy so-called," to sow the seeds of skepticism in the minds of 
our young men and thus introduce another "Reign of Terror," 
and, fasten the chain of error upon the first consciousness of 
childhood. In view of these solemn facts your committee in 
conclusion would urge that they have church organizations 
and Sabbath Schools. 

Second. That preachers and parents co-operate with 
teachers by their counsels and presence to awaken and in- 
crease their interest in Sabbath Schools. 

Third. Let us as Baptists not only send our children to 
Sabbath School, but indoctrinate them early and fully in the 
peculiar and heaven-born doctrines of our church, so that when 
we are gone they may stand like the ocean behind rocks, 
amidst all the dashing billows of error and infidelity and be- 
come blessed pillars in the temple of God. 

Respectfully submitted, 

R, C. BURLESON", Chairman. 

General Sam Houston was a member of the convention, 
a delegate from the Huntsville church. He was made chair- 
man of the committee on Indian Missions. He presented the 
report of the committee to the convention, and discussed the 
subject before that body. 

Report on Indian Missions. 

Your committee on Indian Missions have had the same 
under consideration, and beg leave to report, that in the judg- 
ment of your committee the only available plan to accomplish 

286 The Life and Writings of 

anything with the Indians on our frontier, would be to recom- 
mend to the government to make an appropriation to erect suit- 
able buildings and instruction schools under the supervision 
of such missionary as may be appointed by your Board for that 
purpose, and to preach in the surrounding country to the desti- 

That this is an enterprise worthy of our prayerful con- 
sideration, will appear self -evidently clear by reference to the 
report of our Missionaries of last year. In that we see some 
five or six hundred children there at two stations under the 
age of 12 years old. Could these children be gathered into 
schools and their young minds raised from their present chan- 
nel of degradation and shame, to the paths of virtue and knowl- 
edge, then might their parents and the whole nation he reached 
by the glorious results that eternity alone can fully develop. 

All of which is respectfully submitted, 

SAM HOUSTON, Chairman. 

]STo man was better prepared to discuss this subject than 
this old Christian hero. He had spent three years with the 
Cherokee Indians in Western Arkansas in his younger days, 
and no person then living had a better insight into their lives 
and a clearer conception of the spiritual side of their charac- 
ters. This will be admitted when the following history of 
Gen. Houston's connection "with these untutored savages has 
been read. The quotation is from "The Life of Sam Hous- 
ton," by Dr. Wm. Carey Crane. In order to make this chap- 
ter in Gen. Houston's life intelligent, which easily equals, if it 
does not eclipse, in all the elements of romance any truthful 
story ever told, and to present the reasons for his voluntary 
exilement, it must be understood that 'Tn January, 1829, he 
was married to a young lady of reputable connections, and 
gentle character. Her kindred were personal and political 
friends of Gen. Houston, and had zealously supported him in 
his political canvasses. The whole country was taken by sur- 
prise when, about three months afterward, a separation took 
place No publication, either by Gen. Houston or the lady, 
has ever furnished the reason for this remarkable proceeding. 
Unfounded reports, born of bitter malignity, were scattered 
through Tennessee, and the popular feeling was so completely 

Dr. Buftts C. Burleson. 287 

inflamed that, in this strange excitement, the State was divided 
into two hostile parties. His name was denounced, imperti- 
nent disturbers of the peace did not hesitate to charge nini 
with every species of crime ever committed by man. He 
offered no denial to these allegations, and to his dying day ever 
spoke of this lady in terms of unqualified respect and kindness. 
He never authorized any explanation of this singular event, 
but was wont to say in reply to all inquiry : 'This is a pain- 
ful, but a private affair. I do not recognize the right of the 
public to inquire into it, and shall treat the public as though 
it had never happened. And remember that, whatever may 
be said by the lady or her friends, it is no part of the conduct 
of a gallant or generous man to take up arms against a woman. 
If my character cannot withstand the shock, let me lose it. This 
storm will soon sweep by, and time will be my vindicator.' 
Over fifty years have elapsed since this strange event occurred, 
and it cannot do any party to this strange affair any injustice 
to make the only statement known to have been made by him 
to another. ************* 

Nearly two years after his death, and about two years 
before the second Mrs. Houston's death (1867), she gave the 
writer (Dr. W. C. Crane) the only clew to the separation from 
the first Mrs. Houston that ever escaped the General's lips. It 
can be summed up in a few words. ***** 
The first Mrs. Houston, three months after the marriage, 
admitted to her husband that he had not won her heart. To a 
man of Gen. Houston's fervid impulses, poetical temperament, 
and knightly attachment to woman's virtues, this admission 
was overwhelming. The heroism which had dared death on 
the battlefield, the fortitude which had endured the excru- 
ciating pain of unhealed wounds, were insufficient for the 
ordeal, and he succumbed and resolved upon exile among the 


While a runaway boy among the Cherokee Indians in the 
Hi Wassee country, Oolooteka, the chief, adopted young Hous- 
ton as his son, and gave him shelter and protection. In the 
course of events this chief had removed to Arkansas, and had 
become principal chief of his tribe in that country. Tokens of 

288 The Life and "Writings of 

fond recollection passed between him and his adopted son 
during their separation. 

Eleven eventful years had passed, but their attachment 
knew no abatement. Resigning the gubernatorial chair of 
Tennessee, he determined to wend his way to the wigwam of 
this old Cherokee chief. ****** Embarking 
on a steamer on the Cumberland River, he separated from his 
devoted friends, amid evidences of warm affection, presenting 
a scene of touching tenderness. The chief honors of the State 
had crowned him. He had filled its highest stations. In the 
strength and vigor of his early manhood, he stood forth, in his 
thirty-fifth year, a man of the people, toward whose future 
promotion all his friends had looked with eager anticipations 
of a brilliant career. *********** 

Erom Nashville he went by steamer to Little Rock, thence 
400 miles to the northwest to the falls of the Arkansas River. 
He traveled alternately by land and water. !N"ear the mouth 
of the Illinois, on the east side of the Arkansas, the old Chief 
Oolooteka had built his wigwam. Above Eort Smith, on 
both sides of the river, the Cherokees had settled. * * * 
It was night when the boat reached the landing. A message 
was sent to the chief that Colonebe (Gen. Houston's Indian 
name) had arrived. Bringing with him all his family, the 
chief came to greet his adopted son. Throwing his arms 
around him, and embracing him with great affection, the old 
chief said : 'My son, eleven winters have passed since we 
met. My heart has wondered often where you were. I 
heard you were a great chief among your people. Since we 
parted by the falls as you went up the river, I have heard that 
a dark cloud had fallen on the white path you were walking, 
and when it fell on vour wav, you turned toward my wig- 
warn. I am glad. It was done by the Great Spirit. There 
are many wise men among your people, and they have many 
counselors in your section. We are in trouble, and the Great 
Spirit has sent you to us, to give us counsel and take trouble 
away from us. I know you will be our friend, for our hearts 
are near to you, and you will tell our trouble to the Great 
Father, Gen. Jackson. My wigwam is yours; my home is 
yours; my people are yours; rest with us.' 

Dk. Rufus C. Burleson". 289 

Such a greeting took largely from his breast the bitter 
gloom and sorrow of the past few weeks. He was at home and 
the wanderer had rest." 

Here he remained three years, rendering every service 
possible in redressing the wrongs of these people, meanwhile 
studying their character and habits, until manifest destiny 
called him to Texas. The struggling State was not the only 
beneficiary of his coming. Baptist councils were aided by his 
advice, and Baylor University with both his mind and means. 

In Texas he was not only to deal with Anglo-Saxons and 
the principles of human liberty, Mexicans and Mexican des- 
potism, but with uncounted tribes of Indians, with their pecu- 
liar idiosvncracies as well. In his exile he had studied their 
character carefully, and hence not only knew what they 
needed, and exactly how to approach them, but to plan for 
their advancement. A more beautiful specimen of English 
composition is not to be found in the whole range of English 
literature than Gen. Houston's letter to Red Bear, written in 
old Washington-on-the-Brazos, dated October the 18th, 1842. 
And, while it forms no part of this record, the inclination to 
insert it is almost irresistible. 

Dr. Burleson's relations with Gen. Houston were of the 
most intimate character. They discussed all subjects freely 
and confidentially. They had talked over the spiritual condi- 
tion of the Texas Indians, which, possibly, led Mr. Burleson 
to make his report on Indian Missions during the session of the 
convention held at Anderson in 1856, in which he insisted that 
"it is our duty as Christians to do what we can for these peo- 
ple." And later in the session to introduce the resolution ?.nd 
recommend that the "Board of Managers of the convention 
open correspondence with the American Indian Mission Asso- 
ciation on the supreme importance of establishing an Indian 
Mission within the limits of Texas." 

It is not claimed that during the years that Gen. Houston 
lived with Indians in Arkansas that he then bestowed any 
thought on their religious condition and the importance of 
taking any steps whatever looking to the establishment of 
missions among them. He was not then a Christian, and his 
mind was engrossed with his own troubles and the affairs of 



The Life and Writings of 

the world. After his conversion, however, Mr. Burleson's 
report on this subject and his resolutions directed Gen. Hous- 
ton's mind to this field and to these neglected people, and 
induced him to present the report on the subject at the session 
of the convention held in Huntsville in 1857. 

Who knows, and who but God does know, but what these 
acts of Dr. Burleson and Gen. Houston, in Baptist State Con- 
vention of Texas, in 1856 and 1857, held at Anderson and 
Huntsville, may have, in some way, at some time, in some 
place, influenced Dr. H. F. Buckner to consecrate his life and 
give his life for the good of these people. And from this 
beginning, through the influence of this great man and all 
who labored with him, the present standing and strength of 
Baptists among the Indians in the territory has grown. 

Jf t . %j|sr 

Dr. Kitfus C. Burleson. 291 


Texas Pathmakers Came in a Struggle, Lived Amid Con- 
flict, "Worked "Without Means, and Built for All 
Time Not Moved by the Courage of Cowards, but 
From a Sense of Duty and Love for Humanity To 
Say They Were Not Successful Would Be to Brand 
a Thousand Records as Brazen Lies Dr. Burleson 
Elected President of the Convention in 1858 Re- 
elected in 1859 Rev. H. Garrett Reports Baylor 
Booming- New Buildings Erected Dr. Burleson 
Takes a Vacation Travels East Visits the Mam- 
moth Cave Bottomless Pit Fat Man's Misery L 
Bunyan's Way Echo River Gorin's Dome Meth- 
odist Church. 

" God give us men! A time like this demands 

Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands; 
Men whom the lust of office does not kill, 

Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy, 
Men who possess opinions and a will, 

Men who have honor, men who will not lie, 
Men who can stand before a demagogue, 

And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking! 
Tall men, sun crowned, who live above the fog 

In public duty and in private thinking. 
For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds, 

Their large professions and their little deeds, 
Mingle in selfish strife lo! Freedom weeps, 

"Wrong rules the land, and waiting Justice sleeps!" 

1 N NO State in the American Union have the Path- 
makers more cheerfully answered this call and more 
fully filled this demand, than the trench-diggers of 

Texas during the times of which we have written and are now 

292 The Life and Writings of 

They came in a struggle, lived among conflicts, worked 
without means, and built for all time. They did not move 
forward with the courage of cowards, pressed into service at 
the point of the bayonet, but were all volunteers, actuated 
by a sense of duty, love for God, their country and humanity. 
To say that their struggles were not successful would be to 
brand a thousand records as brazen lies, and denounce a thou- 
sand ocular demonstrations as halucinatory monstrosities and 
every one of the five senses enfeebled, if not in a state of ruin. 

They not only fought for a place to stand, but hewed out 
a government, fostered commerce, provided for transportation 
facilities, built churches, established schools, and reckoned for 
everything else desirable in civilized life. 

The Baptist State Convention met at Independence, Octo- 
ber 23d, 1858. Thirtv churches and eleven associations were 
represented. Dr. R. G. Burleson was elected President. The 
convention employed eleven missionaries for this year, who 
reported fourteen churches organized and three hundred and 
eleven persons baptized.. The Board of Trustees stated that 
an elegant three-story stone building had been completed for 
the Female Department of Baylor University, and the Law and 
all other departments of the school in a flourishing condition. 
The convention adjourned to meet in Waco, October 22d, 
1859. The delegates complained that Waco would be a little 
hard to reach, but, nevertheless, in deference to the wishes of 
the members of the little Baptist Church of that place, they 
would start early, ride horseback, camp out, swim creeks, and 
be on hand. They were there, and the swelling tide of suc- 
cess came from every part of the State. Dr. R. C. Burleson 
was re-elected President. 

Dr. J. R. Graves, from Memphis, Tenn., attended this 
session of the convention, and caused every Baptist in the State 
to stand erect, take courage and walk faster by one of the 
masterly sermons for which he was proverbial. 

Rev. H. Garrett, President of the Board of Trustees of 
Baylor University, in his annual report to the convention 
stated that a two-story stone structure for the Male Depart- 
ment was in an advanced stage of completion ; and that plans 
for a three-story building, 56x112 feet, to cost $30,000, had 
been adopted, $15,000 of which amount had been raised. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 293 

The first story of the proposed building was completed 
by Major A. Gr. Haynes, at an expense of $6,500. The war 
of 1861 coming on, building operations were suspended, the 
subscriptions to the building fund rendered valueless, and 
Major Haynes lost 80 per cent of the amount he had 

Dr. Burleson, having discharged the arduous duties of 
corresponding secretary of the convention for six consecutive 
years, President of Baylor University eight, President of the 
convention for two, preaching every Sunday to some weak 
church, traveling and lecturing in the interest of the school, 
greatly needed respite from his work. He, therefore, took a 
trip East, including many places in Alabama, Mississippi and 
Kentucky in the itinerary. His letters to his wife, members 
of the Faculty, Board of Trustees and personal friends while 
on this tour are racy, entertaining and rich. All are worth pre- 
serving, but as this would make this memoir too voluminous, 
we reproduce only one. This particular letter is selected from 
the great number as possessing more general interest. It was 
written to Mrs. Burleson : 

Mammoth Cave, Sept. 7, 1859. 
My Dear Georgia: 

This morning, after a hearty breakfast, our company, con- 
sisting of Mr. Shropshire and his bride, from Columbus, 
Texas; Mr. Austill of Mobile, Mr. Marshall and his sweet, 
modest daughter, Bettie, of Claiborn, Alabama, and Mr. Mar- 
shall and his thoroughgoing wife (just like Mrs. Captain 
Puller) and their beautiful daughter, Lillie, of Mobile, and 
Mr. Andrews, a Presbyterian preacher, and Mr. Chapman of 
Ohio and myself, dressed up in "Cave Costume" to "see 
sights" in this worldwide wonder. And do you think you 
would have known me with a little red flanel round-about coat 
on, a rough pair of pants and a little slick cap ? I was a sight. 
The ladies were all dressed in dark gray flannel, tipped with 
red, made in genuine bloomer style, and didn't they look funny? 
Upon my word, they looked like boys going to school, and how 
ashamed they seemed at first ! 

We left the splendid hotel, capable of entertaining three 
hundred persons (who flock here from Calcutta and China and 

294 The Life and Writings of 

every part of Europe and America), and after walking one 
hundred and fifty yards down a long hollow we came to the 
mouth of the cave, surrounded with tall poplar trees. Each 
lady and gentleman was furnished by our excellent guide, 
Mat (who has been a guide here for twenty-three years), with 
a lamp and walking stick. For the first half mile we saw 
nothing of peculiar interest, except the saltpeter works, where 
saltpeter and gunpowder were made in 1812 and 1814. 

The vats, troughs, wooden pipes, and even the corncobs, 
on which they fed the oxen, were as sound as they were forty- 
seven years ago. Such is the influence of the dryness of this 
part of the cave and the salt atmosphere. The tracks of the 
cart wheels and the oxen, made in soft mud, but now petrified, 
are as distinctly seen as they were when first made in 1812. 

The first objects of peculiar interest were natural forma- 
tions of rock representing perfectly a giant's coffin, forty feel- 
long; the lid was as perfect as I ever saw on a coffin; with two 
other natural formations .-representing his wife (and child 
weeping by his coffin. The next object of peculiar interest 
was a beautiful cascade, falling about twenty-five or thirty feet. 
Soon the old guide called "Bottomless pit, be careful," and in 
a moment we were right over the awful cavern, down which 
we threw rock, and heard them going down, down, down, till 
the sound died away. You have heard me in a sermon allude 
to the horrible instance of man losing his light and falling over- 

My soul was horror-stricken when I gazed down into this 
dark and horrible vortex, especially when one of our company, 
foolhardy like, rushed out and stood upon the "slippery verge'' 
of the bottomless pit itself. Some of our ladies grew faint at 
the very sight. 

Oh, how like sinners who daily sport and laugh on the 
%-cry verge of the bottomless pit of eternal burning ! Soon 
we passed "Minerva Dome," which was about seventy feet 
high, and then "side-saddle pit," which was about 100 feet 
deep. We then squeezed through a natural channel, worn 
through a solid limestone rock about a foot, and very crooked, 
fitly called "Eat Man's Misery," and so it proved to be to the 
big, fat men of our company. The guide smiled and said, 
"Ladies, this road was made under the 'old constitution,' 'be- 

Dr. Rufus C. Burlesox. 295 

fore hoops came in fashion.' I thought it might have been 
called "Tall Man's Misery," for I had to bend nearly double 
to get along. The old guide said, Ladies and gentlemen, I 
could carry you through "Bunyan's Way," but you would 
have to crawl on your hands and feet one hundred and fifty 
yards." Thus has the immortal dreamer written his name 
wherever human beings go or human hearts beat in sympathy 
with genius. 

We then passed Bacon House Cave, just like a smoke- 
house, and then "The Dead Sea," a sluggish pool thirty feet 
deep. We also crossed "The River Styx" on a "natural 
bridge," as "Charon's boat" had floated away amid the misty 
and beautiful legends of the Greeks. We also crossed in a 
ferryboat, "Lettie," a little sluggish stream, but it didn't 
make some of our company forget their fears. One man 
declared he had "an ager," and one beautiful maiden, with 
pallid cheeks, declared she had not "one particle of curiosity," 
which was the first time I ever gave full credit to such a 
declaration from one of the fair sex. Indeed, times were a 
little skittish. It was damp, and we were three miles from 
the mouth of the cave, and about three hundred feet under 

We next came to "Echo River," and walked down its 
sandy banks three hundred yards. In order to drive away the 
fears of the timid, and by way of keeping up my courage (like 
a boy whistling in a graveyard), I challenged a young man, 
Mr. Shropshire, of Columbus, Texas, to a trial of strength in 
going the running jump. After several trials I came off vic- 
tor by throwing my feet and legs forward and falling flat on 
my back in the deep, loose sand. Would not this have looked 
funny at Baylor University ? Our band, which we had hired, 
struck up a lively tune and revived our courage enough to 
take a ride of one and three-fourths miles on the "Echo River." 
The sound of the ladies' voices in singing echoed and re- 
echoed beautifully. 

The musicians had walked on through a terrible way, 
called "Purgatory," and got ahead of us, and, oh ! how lovely 
did "Annie Laurie" float along the dark stillness of this won- 
derful stream. The old guide told us to repeat some name 
and hear it echo back from the dark cavern below. I repeated 

296 The Life axd Writings of 

aloud "Georgia/' and the echo came back "Georgia." I called 
aloud "Jonnie," and the sweet little name came back 
"Jonnie !" I said "Find papa," and the echo found papa 
crying, for I could not see those sweet little eyes turned on 
me. Here Jenny Lind sang beautifully on her visit to the 
cave in 1849. 

Our guide fired off a pistol and it roared like a cannon. 
Our ladies were getting very tired, and we had reluctantly to 
turn our course back, and did not get to see Cleveland's Grotto, 
three miles from ''Echo River," and said to have such beauti- 
ful formations of white rock as to represent lilies and roses 
and a perfect flower garden, six miles under ground. We 
retraced our steps, and reached "Richardson Spring" at 12 
o'clock, in time for dinner, which we ate with a fine appetite. 

We next visited "Gorin Dome," three hundred feet high. 
It beggars all description. To be understood it must be seen. 
Our guide lighted a sulphurous taper and threw it down, and it 
sent forth a purple light that illuminated the dome from top to 
bottom. We then came back within a mile of the mouth of 
the cave and took the main channel, the arch of which is from 
sixty to ninety feet from the bottom. We passed by several 
small cabins, which were built here sixteen years ago by con- 
sumptive persons to live in, hoping that the uniform tempera- 
ture would cure them, but it was rather injurious, for every 
one that lived here died after they came out, though they felt 
well when they were here. 

We next visited the "Star Chamber," one of the grandest 
scenes on the earth or under the earth. The cave is about sixty 
feet wide and eighty feet high and five hundred feet long. At 
the top there is a perfect galaxy of stars and a comet, formed 
by bright particles of store jutting through the black gyp- 
sum. "We wondered and still the wonder grew." The old 
guide carried all our lamps behind some ledges of rocks, and 
as the lights disappeared he gave us the exact appearance of a 
thunder cloud coming up. We could see the stars as they dis- 
appeared behind the dark cloud. Then he disappeared 
entirely in a small by-cave, and such darkness as enveloped us ! 
Why, I reached out my hand and tried to feel it. Very soon 
the guide appeared as a ghost shrouded in a bright mist, and 

Dk. Eufus C. Buklesox. 297 

soon we saw the most hideous light any opium eater every saw. 
The guide had, by putting six lamps on each arm, and extend- 
ing them upward, represented the open jaws of some terrible 
monster, and he so worked his fingers in the light as to repre- 
sent teeth covered with blood. 

"We next visited the floating cloud hall, and then "Gothic 
Chamber," which is about three-fourths of a mile long and 
exceedingly beautiful. 

Lastly we visited the "Methodist Church," a magnificent 
room, with a pulpit twenty feet up on the wall. The ceiling 
was about sixty feet high, and the cave was at least 
eighty feet wide and two hundred feet long. There, 
sixty years ago, the pioneer Methodists used to preach the 
gospel, and I should think, to get a sinner in here and preach 
"hell fire" and the "bottomless pits" to him, he would repent 
and 'get religion" as quick as he could lose it. We saw the 
logs they used for seats. They were not backed nor cushioned, 
but hewed logs. 

We then had a grand appearance of daylight dawning as 
we approached the mouth of the cave, and then we emerged 
into daylight again after having been in the cave from 8 
o'clock till 4 p. m. 

Yours affectionately, 


Mr. Burleson visited his old home on Flint river before 
returning from this tour, and preached at Mt. Pisgah, the 
church he had joined twenty years before. This has 
already been alluded to, but is recalled to relate a touching 
incident of the service. His stepmother, between whom and 
himself all the affectionate relations of mother and son existed, 
was advanced in life, in feeble health, and had been for months 
confined to her home. Every member of the family attended 
the service, but at first she did not feel able to do so. After 
they had gone, the desire to hear her son preach overcame 
physical infirmities and pain, and she called two negro boys. 
One she told to hitch the horses to the carriage; the other to 
go to the church in all haste and ask her son not to begin the 
sermon until she arrived. The runner reached the church 
just as Mr. Burleson entered the pulpit. Capt. Burleson 

298 The Life axd Writings of 

approached him and said : "My son, your mother has just 
sent a boy to tell me she had decided to come out, and wants 
you to wait until her arrival before commencing." Mr. Bur- 
leson announced another hymn, and by the time it was fin- 
ished his mother drove up, stopped at a. side window, in full 
view of her preacher son, and remained in the carriage while 
he told the story of the cross. As he proceeded, tears of joy 
trickled down this saintly mother's cheek, which visibly 
affected the son, and this, in turn, the congregation, until all 
were in tears. The scene was touching beyond description. 


Dr. Rtjfus C. Burleson. 299 


Dr. Burleson's Dominating, Absorbing Purpose Was to 
Make Baylor University the Peer of Any Institution 
on the Continent A Man of Many Ideas Inter- 
ested in All Public Questions Early Canvass for 
Railroads Elected Vice-President at the Fif- 
teenth Session of the State Convention Published 
Proceedings of State Convention in 1848 and 1898 
First Catalogue of Baylor University in 1852, and 
Catalogue of Same School in 1898 Compared Cur- 
tain on First Era of Dr. Burleson's Life Dropped, 
and Scene Shifted to Waco. 

BOM the day Dr. Burleson resigned the pastorate of 
the First Baptist Church of Houston, in 1851, the 
dominating, controlling and absorbing purpose of 
his life was to make Baylor University the peer of any insti- 
tution of learning on the continent. Notwithstanding this 
fact, he was a man of many ideas. His affections he never 
permitted to be divided, but he knew what was transpiring in 
the country, and extended a helping hand to every worthy 
enterprise, and encouraged every scheme that had for its 
object the glory and good of the world. He worked for edu- 
cation, all the plans of the convention, railroads, factories, 
transportation facilities, the growth of towns. He was inter- 
ested in all political questions, and deeply concerned for the 
welfare and prosperity of the State, as scores of letters, found 
among his papers, from Governors Houston, Pease, Coke, 
Boss, Ireland, Hubbard, Hogg and Culberson indicate. 

300 The Life and Writings of 

Among the earliest canvasses intended to encourage the 
construction of railroads in the State was made by Dr. Burle- 
son. General Houston sought him at his home at Indepen- 
dence in 1853 for the purpose of conferring with him and 
reaching some conclusion as to the wisest plan to adopt 
to foster railroad construction. Dr. Burleson took the 
matter up, delivered addresses at railroad meetings, and con- 
tributed many articles to the press emphasizing the importance 
of this means of developing Texas. The task was by no means 
easy. The people were not perhaps hostile to railroads, but 
were suspicious of the men who proposed them, and much 
more suspicious of all plans proposed for building them. They 
recalled the questionable methods of the "Texas Railroad, 
Navigation and Banking Company" in this direction, com- 
menced in 1839. The history of this huge corporation, with 
a capital stock of $10,000,000, was unsavory, and while rail- 
roads were valuable, perhaps, in promoting the material devel- 
opment of the country, yet all companies projecting them 
might prove to be of the same ilk. While advocating rail- 
road construction and favoring a liberal State policy toward 
them; he insisted that the Government should reserve the right 
to control these highways. His efforts accomplished good, 
and were continued both at Independence and Waco in later 

Mr. Burleson attended the fourteenth session of the con- 
vention, held at Huntsville, October 29th, 1861, and preached, 
by request, in the Methodist Church. He also attended the 
session held in Waco, October 25th, 1862, and was made one 
of the three Vice-Presidents. 

From this time on, until 1885, he disappears from the 
record of the convention, except to receive its courtesies as a 
visitor, having become a constituent of the General 

We have thus far traced Dr. Burleson's record from his 
birth, in 1823, through his boyhood and manhood, to 1861. 
when he tendered his resignation as President of Baylor Uni- 
versity at Independence. We then dropped back and traced 
his connection with the Baptist State Convention from its 
organization, in 1848, until 1864. 

Dr. Kufus C. Burleson. 301 

We have striven to avoid becoming tedious in reciting the 
events of his interesting career, but careful to omit nothing 
important in the record, for the obvious reason that it was 
during this period in his life that he was making history. 

Dr. Burleson performed a much greater amount of work 
for the University at Waco than for the University at Inde- 
pendence; so, also, he did more work in the General Associa- 
tion than in the State Convention, but made less history. 

To illustrate what is meant we will state : The proceed- 
ings of the first session of the Baptist State Convention, in 
1848, is a little pamphlet containing twelve pages. The pro- 
ceedings of the fiftieth session, held in Waco, in 1898, is a 
book of 155 pages. The last lacks only one page of being 
thirteen times as large as the first. Still not a precedent was 
established in the fiftieth session, while the proceedings of the 
first session were all precedents. 

Again. The first catalogue issued of Baylor University, 
at Independence, in 1852, was a little pamphlet of fourteen 
small pages. The catalogue issued of the same school, at 
Waco, in 1898, is an elegant book of 103 pages; yet the first 
little catalogue required greater mental and mechanical effort 
than the last. For this reason we are not impressed that from 
this time on it is important to make the record so voluminous. 

In addition to the reason expressed we are led to this 
conclusion by the following considerations : 

First. The events of the closing years of Dr. Burleson's 
life are well known. They are too essentially a part of the 
history of Texas to be ignored or overlooked. 

Second. To adhere to the plan heretofore pursued 
would make this record more voluminous than is necessary or 

The curtain on the first era of Dr. Burleson's life in 
Texas is dropped, and the scene shifted to Waco. 

We shall not attempt to step in Dr. Burleson's footprints 
from Waco in the exact order in which they were made, but 
will attend him in a succession as follows: 

First. Give a condensed summary of the progress of 
education in Texas, and Dr. Burleson's efforts to establish a 
system of public schools. The importance and value of this 

302 The Life axd Writings of 

service will be something of a surprise to those who have not 
studied his life carefully. 

Second. His connection with the Baptist General Asso- 
ciation of Texas will be traced from the organization of this 
body, in 186S, to its consolidation with the Baptist State Con- 
vention in 1885, when the consolidated body became the 
Baptist General Convention of Texas. 

Third. His connection with the Baptist General Conven- 
tion of Texas from 1885 to 1901.. 

Fourth. His connection with Waco University from 
1861 to the consolidation of Waco and Bavlor Universities in 
1885, when the consolidated school became Baylor University. 

Sixth. His connection with Baylor University from 
1885 to 1901. 

Thus dividing his public services, divides his life also 
in exact halves in respect to years. Having been born in 
1823, he was just thirty-seven years old when he resigned the 
presidency of Baylor University at Independence in 1861. 
From 1861 to 1898 is thirty-seven years, and at this time he 
was made president emeritus of Baylor University by the 
Board of Trustees, which marks the date of his retirement 
from active public life. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 303 


Education in Texas Under Spanish Dominion and Mexi- 
can Rule Population Society Missions Revolu- 
tion in Mexico The Empire Republic Constitu- 
tion of 1824 Provisions for Education Under the 
Eederal Constitution Constitution of Coahuila and 
Texas Provisions for Public Schools in the State 
Constitution The Eirst American School Report 
of Almonte Efforts of the Colonists Toward Edu- 
cation The First Female Academy in Texas Inde- 
pendence Academy Baylor University Descrip- 
tion of a Mexican School in 1825 Character of the 
American Colonist Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa 
Anna Revolt of the American Colonists. 

> * 


N ORDER to present more clearly the splendid service 
performed by Dr. Burleson in behalf of public edu- 
cation in Texas, it has been found to be necessary to 
take more than a cursory view of this interesting subject. He 
vitalized constitutional provisions that had remained dormant 
and inoperative for years and invested it with an interest not 
hitherto known. 

It is assumed that the only educational instruction oflered 
in Texas when a separate province of Spain, at the beginning 
of the last century, was of a parochial character, and that it 
was provided by Roman Catholic priests. The only learning 
disseminated by them at the various missions and the few mili- 
tary establishments was of a religious nature, and intended to 
propagate the doctrines of the Catholic Church. These 

304 The Life and "Writings of 

priests were generally men of fair classical education, as were 
also many of the officers of the regular service. 

They no doubt exerted some influence in guiding and 
moderating the fierce temper of frontier life, and in setting a 
wholesome example, which produced imitative effects upon a 
rude population. In 1806 the civilized inhabitants of Texas 
numbered 7,000, and the country was in a more prosperous 
condition than it had ever been before. 

Many new settlers came into the country about the close 
of the year, and brought with them some wealth. This move- 
ment was influenced, no doubt, by the recent "Louisiana Pur- 
chase," under the Jefferson administration. 

San Antonio was then the principal town in Texas, and 
was then, as now, in a flourishing state. The buildings, though 
generally of mud, were numerous, and occupied an extensive 
area. The population was about 2,000, only a few of whom 
were Americans. From a Spanish standpoint, it was a pleas- 
ant place of residence on account of the society. It was a 
garrisoned town and was the capital of the province. The sev- 
eral missions in the vicinity added greatly to the impor- 
tance of the place, socially as well as commercially. As these 
were the homes of the missionaries, who were engaged in con- 
verting and educating the Indians, they may with propriety 
be designated as the first educational institutions established 
in Texas. The least conspicuous of these mission schools, but 
destined to become of great historical importance, was the 

Nacogdoches, founded in 1778, became also an important 
and historic town, and promised, until the great oil discovery 
at Beaumont, to hold its position as the commercial center of 
East Texas. In 1806, Nacogdoches contained about 500 
inhabitants, among whom, as at San Antonio, there were very 
few Americans. 

The revolutionary forces, which threatened invasion, dis- 
quieted the people, and the hostility of Indians made fugitives 
of large numbers, until Texas was almost restored to a state 
of nature. 

This condition of affairs continued until Stephen F. Aus- 
tin and others executed their contracts by settling a large 

Dr. Rufus C. Bublesox. 305 

number of American families in the country. The contracts 
under which these families were introduced were very liberal. 
Austin's success is a matter of history, as are also his efforts in 
behalf of the colonists. 

Prior to this time the revolution in Mexico, which had 
for some time been sustained, was accomplished. Iturbide 
became Emperor and administered for two years, when he 
abdicated in obedience to the will of the people. The Federal 
Constitution of January 31st, 1824, was adopted by the Repub- 
lic of Mexico. The first Congress passed a decree May 7th, 
1824, known as the constitutional act, uniting Texas with 
Coahuila as one State, by reason of the small population. The 
first Congress of this new State was duly installed August 
15th, 1824, at Saltillo, and entered upon the discharge of its 
legislative duties. Congress formulated a constitution March 
11th, 1827. It provided that the Congress was to be com- 
posed of twelve Deputies, of which Texas was entitled to two. 

The Federal Constitutoin provided: "In all the towns 
of the State a suitable number of primary schools shall be 
established, wherein shall be taught reading, writing and arith- 
metic, the catechism of the Christian religion, a brief and 
simple explanation of the Constitution of the State, and 
Republic, the rights and duties of man in society, and what- 
ever else may conduce to the better education of the youth; 
that the seminaries most required for affording the means of 
instruction in the sciences and arts useful to the State; and 
wherein the Constitution shall be fully explained, shall be 
established in suitable places, and in proportion as circum- 
stances go or may permit. The method of teaching shall be 
uniform throughout the State ; and with a view also to indicate 
the same, Congress shall form a general plan of education, and 
regulate by means of statute and laws all that pertains to this 
most important subject." 

"Thus early, and in this manner, was provision made by 
organic law looking to the adoption of a plan of general public 
education, or common schools." 

As usual with new governments, the question of promot- 
ing the settlement of Mexico from the United States attracted 
early attention, and in a few months after the adoption of the 


306 The Life and Writings of 

Constitution instructions to the Land Commissioner as to new 
town sites required, among other things, that a suitable block 
of ground be provided for school and other buildings for public 

The first mention of an American school in Texas is in 
a document in the Bexar County record, dated July 5th, 1828, 
referring to the McClure School. This was under Mexican 
rule, and the school was probably an institution started for 
the benefit of the growing Anglo-Saxon colonists. About 
this time- there existed a Spanish public school on the east line 
of the present military plaza. (J. J. L.) 

The State Legislature took the action in favor of estab- 
lishing a system of public education in Decree !No. 92, adopted 
May 11th, 1829, which made provision for a school of mutual 
instruction on the "Lancastran plan," at the capital of each 
department, for the free instruction of a limited number of 
poor children, and for the compulsory education of the chil- 
dren of the parents not able to pay tuition. It provided that 
the teachers should instruct the children in the rudiments 
only, the dogmas of the Eoman Catholic Church, and the 
American catechism of arts and sciences. It fixed the salary 
of the teacher at $800 per annum, and provided for the gen- 
eral expenses of the school by creating a fund in the said capi- 
tals, to be supplemented when necessary by loans from the 
municipality, or by loans from the State rents, subject to be 
restored to the State agents. Parents who were able were 
required to pay fourteen dollars per annum for each child 
while learning the "first rudiments" till they commenced to 
write, and eighteen dollars for the rest of their attendance. 
Each student educated in the establishment was required, on 
leaving, to pay ten dollars "gratitude money" for rewarding 
the teacher at the end of the teacher's contract. 

In April following the Legislature passed another law, 
establishing six temporary schools on a like plan, as provided 
for under Decree 92, with some modifications, which were 
specified, reducing the pay of teachers to five hundred dollars 
each per annum, and gratitude money to six dollars per pupil. 
Provision was made for the support of these public schools by 
grants of four leagues of land to the capital of each depart- 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 307 

merit. San Antonio was the capital of the Department of 
Bexar. By a decree of January 31st, 1831, Bexar was 
divided, and a new department created, with its capital at 
Nacogdoches, and a special grant of four leagues of land was 
allotted to the new municipality for educational purposes. 

But these laudable efforts of the Government proved to be 
practically ineffective. They were not satisfactory, ana! the 
people, especially the Americans, did not second the views of 
the Legislature, largely because of the preference allowed 
Spanish over English speaking children. At a convention 
held at San Felipe, in 1832, the disaffection on the subject 
led to the appointment of a committee to petition the State 
Government for a donation of land for the purpose of creating 
a fund for the future establishment of primary schools, but 
there is no evidence that it was presented, although provision 
was made, of a limited character, to produce school funds 
under general decree of April, 1833, whereby Juntas were also 
created, charged to take special care that the funds intended 
for the schools be used for no other purpose, and that they be 
not separated therefrom for any cause whatever. 

These Juntas were further required to provide schools 
and also teachers, and to see that the teachers "do not render 
useless by their example the lessons it is their duty to give 
on morality and good breeding." 

So far nothing of value was accomplished by the govern- 
ment in its efforts to establish a system of public education, 
and as was officially reported by a. commission in 1834, there 
were then only three private schools in operation in the prov- 
ince; one on the Brazos river, one on Red river and the other 
in San Antonio, where the teacher got $25.00 for his ser- 
vices. (Report of Almonte). 

In 1844 the city of San Antonio took action in obedience 
to the stipulations in its charter to encourage the opening of a 
public school by recommending that the old court house be so 
repaired as to serve for both court and school purposes, and 
certain lots were appropriated for the purpose, but for some 
reason the arrangement was not consummated until August, 

Those Texas settlements that would justify it, established 
private schools for the instruction of their children. In cases 

308 The Life and Writings of 

where parents could afford it, their children were sent tc the 
United States to be educated. Mrs. M. Looscaus says, "The 
need of schools among the early colonists was pre-eminent in 
their minds, and many a good scholar who came to Texas with 
no intention of teaching was pressed into service by the im- 
portunities of his neighbors. A school house erected in a 
neighborhood was made large enough to accommodate not 
only all the children within riding distance, but many others 
from less favored, or less thickly settled sections, were re- 
ceived into families, often without thought of receiving, or 
even accepting payment for board, and were taken care of by 
the good women as if their own. 

In the coast country the names of Willbarger, Henry 
Smith, (afterward provisional governor), Phineas Smith, 
Thomas J. Pilgrim, Noonan, Cloud and Copeland are still 

Major George B. Erath says, ''School houses of logs were 
found in the more thickly settled portions of country, but sel- 
dom was a school kept in one of them for more than one year. 
The same house, or the shade of a tree did very well for a re- 
ligious service, and preachers of all denominations were pass- 
ing and repassing." 

One of the schools that had been located at Washington 
prior to 1834, was transferred to Mount Vernon, once the 
county site of Washington county, and Miss Lydia McHenry 
taught there until 1836. 

A very interesting feature of the first history of Baylor 
University is now approached. We make no effort to con- 
trovert the statement that Union Association is the mother 
of Baylor University, and by turning back a few leaves in the 
history of education in Texas, we trace its descent back one 
more generation and discover also who our "Baylor's" grand 
mother was. 

The first young ladies boarding school established in 
Texas, was opened by Miss Trask of Boston, in 1834. The 
academy building was of round cedar and post oak logs, the 
room eighteen feet square. This school was located about 
1,500 yards due west from the old Female College building at 
Independence, known at that time as "Coles' Settlement." By 
a most singular coincidence the location was also only a few 

Dr. Kufits C. Burleson. 


hundred yards north from the house in which Mrs. R. C. Bur- 
leson was partially raised, and grew to womanhood. Miss 
Trask was a very cultivated and highly educated lady and 
as fearless as any frontiersman in Texas. "YV hen it was neces- 
sary for her to do so, she mounted her Texas pony, swung a 
six shooter on one horn of her saddle, and unattended, would 
ride to La Grange, Houston or Austin, a distance of fifty or 
seventy-five miles, the whole route infested with Indians and 
other lawless characters. 

This academy was continued until 1838 or 1839, when* 
Prof. Henry F. Gillette, as we have seen a member of the 
first Faculty of Baylor University, bought out the school, and 
established "Independence Academy" in 1841, which was 

'. . 

1. Houston and Coavden Halls. 2. Gymnasium. 

3. Carroll Science Hall. 4. Georgia Burleson Hall 

5. Main Building. 

successfullv conducted until 1845, when it was transferred and 
became a part of Baylor University. So therefore, the Trask 
Seminary, established January 31st, 1834, the first female 
school opened in Texas, has the distinction of being the pro- 
genitor of ] Baylor University and Baylor Female College. 

From this brief account of the educational institutions in 
Texas under the Mexican Republic, it is evident that institu- 
tions of learning were few in number and poorly sustained, 
under the existing state of affairs among the colonists, but 
facts go to prove that they were not unmindful of the benefits 

310 The Life and Writings of 

to be derived from education, and that even beset by innum- 
erable trials, they exerted themselves to establish schools of 
some kind, and to foster them to the limit of their ability. 

The fundamental law of the Republic in providing for a 
system of public free schools is worthy of the highest estima- 
tion, as was also the decrees promulgated by the state of Coa- 
huila and Texas for the same purpose. Those laws undoubted- 
ly influenced legislation in later years, and were suggestive of 
benefits we now enjoy in connection with the present school 

The hindrances to the successful inauguration of any 
system, were such as exist in all newly settled countries and the 
obstacles to the establishment of such institutions are insur- 
mountable ; but were especially so under the turbulent state of 
affairs throughout the Republic. Other parts of Mexico was 
no better provided with educational facilities than was Texas. 
To form an idea of the conditions in Mexico we can not do bet- 
ter than refer to the discription of one of their schools about 
the year 1825 as given by an intelligent eye witness : 

"I have just returned," says Mr. Poinsett, "from visit- 
ing a school, and have been much amused with the appearance 
of the pedagogue. In a large room, furnished with two or 
three cowhides spread on the floor, and half a dozen low 
benches, were ten or twelve little urchins, all repeating their 
lessons as loud as they could bawl. The master was stalking 
about the room, with a ferule in his hand, and dressed in the 
most grotesque manner. He had an old manta wrapped about 
his loins, from under which there appeared the ends of tat- 
tered leather breeches hanging over his naked legs; sandals 
were bound round his ankles; a leather jerkin, the sleeves 
worn off, and a dirty handkerchief twisted round his head, 
above which his shaggy hair stood erect, completed his dress. 
He seemed perfectly unconscious of his uncouth appearance, 
but received me very courteously, dismissed his scholars im- 
mediately, and at once entered into conversation on the state 
of the country. He told me that he was born in that house, 
and had never wandered beyond the precincts of the village. 
Several of the country people came in while we were talking, 
and treated the pedagogue with great respect. He appeared 
to be an oracle." 

Dr. Kufus C. Burleson. 311 

This graphic description enables one to estimate the ex- 
tent of knowledge and refinement imparted in such an institu- 
tion and we safely infer that all the country schools throughout 
Mexico was of a like character where ignorance was almost 
universal. This ignorance too, became more conspicuous 
after the execution of the decree of December 8, 1827, which 
was passed by the general congress and instigated by the ex- 
cessive hatred entertained against the natives of old Spain 
residing in Mexico, and in response to the clamor raised for 
their expulsion. It was not only a barbarous law, but it "ban- 
ished from her society those who possessed nearly all the in- 
telligence and refinement in the nation. Miserable indeed is 
the condition of that country which supposes that its safety 
requires the banishment of its most accomplished and useful 
citizens." (Yoakum). 

As a contrast, it can be shown that the colonists in Texas 
were generally of a high order of intellect. Many were fami- 
liar with the refinements and elegancies of society, and they 
practiced these evidences of civilization in the wilds of a 
frontier life to the extent that circumstances would permit. 
Many were of good families and bore names of distinction in 
their former homes, and it is a well attested fact that all, at 
least of Austin's colonists, were a superior order of people, and 
that they would not tolerate any individual who was not law- 
abiding and personally worthy of respect. As a natural con- 
sequence, such a society attracted to it immigrants of like ten- 
dences and its disposition was to encoiirage every influence 
calculated to elevate the character and provide for the intel- 
lectual welfare of their offspring. That they did so, we have 
every reason to believe, even if history did not attest the fact 
in the chronicle of events. 

The American population in Texas had increased to 
thirty thousand in 1831, and were constantly augmenting, 
notwithstanding the proscriptions of the national government 
against immigration. The measures of tyranny attempted to 
be instituted in Texas met with resistance, and the spirit then 
manifested attracted a large number of adventurous characters 
to the colonies. But the despotism of Bustamente had become 
intolerable in Mexico, and a successful revolution in favor of 
Santa Anna was the result. 

312 The Life axd Writings of 

The people of Texas gladly availed themselves of the 
opportunity presented by the factious spirit in Mexico, and 
professing sincere attachment to the constitution of 1824, 
they gave their adherence to Santa Anna, and taking up arms 
they resorted to force to suppress his opposition in Texas. 

The successful battle of Velasco and Xacogdoches added 
dignity and lustre to the national flag. Thus Texans made 
triumphant efforts at the promptings of patriotism in sweep- 
ing Texas of Mexican soldiers, but in doing so they fostered 
the power which was to control the destinies of Mexico, and to 
drench her own beautiful prairies in blood. 

The historical events which followed are not only out of 
place in this brief view of early education in Texas, but are 
too well known to be recited. After the treacherous and blood- 
thirsty usurper, Santa Anna, secured his power in Mexico he 
turned toward Texas for the purpose of satisfying his veng- 
eance by exterminating the colonists. His success in the 
massacre of Texan patriots at the Alamo and Goliad, gave him 
confidence, and led him on to his ruin and doom. The declara- 
tion of Texas Independence, the general uprising of the peo- 
ple, and the glorious battle of San Jacinto, with the humiliat- 
ing capture of the tyrant, terminated the disturbances in 
Texas, and placed her among the respected powers of earth. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 313 


Education in Texas Under the Republic The Declara- 
tion of Independence The Consitution of 1836 
The First Congress of the Republic Establishment 
of Schools The First Charter of the Republic to 
Independence Academy The Act to Establish a 
State University President Lamar's Message on 
Education Area of the Republic Land Grants for 
Educational Purposes Baylor University at Inde- 
pendence School at San Augustine. 


1ST presenting the progress of education in Texas, and 
Dr. R. C. Burleson's connection therewith, it is neces- 
sary to mention some historical facts already referred 
to. Since, however, an entirely new view is taken of these 
facts this explanation is scarcely necessary. 

The declaration of Independence promulgated at Wash- 
ington-on-the-Brazos, March 2nd, 1836, was consummated on 
the battlefield of San Jacinto, April 21st of that year. The 
Burlesons and Byrds, paternal and maternal relatives of Dr. 
R. C. Burleson bore a conspicuous part in that memorable bat- 
tle, which may be placed with the decisive engagements in 

That document declared in connection with other griev- 
ances, "that the Mexican government had failed to establish 
a system of public education, although possessed of almost 
boundless resources; and although it is an axiom in political 
science that unless a people are educated, it is idle to expect a 
continuance of civil liberty, or the capacity for self govern- 
ment." To maintain these views the patriots engaged in 

314 The Life and Writings of 

deadly strife, and successfully established the principle as one 
of the organic laws of the government. 

It is notable that the framers of the document had fol- 
lowed the expressions of the constitution of Coahuila and 
Texas in fixing their attention upon the public domain, in- 
stead of direct taxation in providing for public education. 

The first congress of the Republic of Texas assembled in 
Houston, October 1st, following under the constitution of 
March 17, 1836. It was composed of men well qualified to 
discharge the responsible duties delegated to them by the peo- 
ple. Among them were experienced statesmen and jurists, 
and these were sustained by a high order of cultivated and 
native intellects, which assisted in framing the laws and pro- 
viding for the permanent institutions of the country. 

"The new constitution made it the duty of the congress 
of the republic, as soon as circumstances permitted, to pro- 
vide by law a general system of education. Schools were soon 
developed by the impetus of increased population, academies 
and other educational institutions sought charters from the 
government, and, as the public records show, as early as Juno 
5, 1837, the President of the Republic, Sam Houston, ap- 
proved "An Act to Incorporate the Trustees of Independence 
Academy and the University of San Augustine," which were 
separate institutions, but were embraced in the same act by the 
first congress of the republic of Texas. The institutions were 
located at Independence, in Washington county and at San 
Augustine, in San Augustine countv. The same dav, June 
5, President Houston approved ''An Act Incorporating the 
Trustees of Washington College to be located at or near the 
town of Washington, on the Brazos River. These acts of in- 
corporation provide in effect, as do nearly all the charters 
granted by the republic, as well as by the State of Texas, for 
educational institutions, that they shall be accessible to all 
students without regard to religious or political opinions. Such 
institutions were generally maintained by subscriptions to their 
respective funds, or by tuition, or both, or in some way by 
private enterprise. The amount of property which they were 
to hold was generally expressed in the respective acts of in- 
corporation, and the property was generally, but not always, 
exempt from taxation. Very often, too, upon application to 

Dk. Rufus C. Buelesox. 315 

the legislature, special acts were passed prohibiting the sale 
of intoxicating liquors near the premises. Special qualifica- 
tion was made as to the Bible in two instances one in an act 
incorporating the "Texas Christian College," to be located 
where the largest subscription may induce, and providing that 
"the Bible may be fully taught, but no partisan, sectional, 
sectarian, or denominational peculiarity shall be taught or en- 
couraged in the college," and the other in an act incorporating 
"McKenzie Male and Female College," in Red River county, 
which provided that "the Bible may be publicly read and 
used as a text-book." 

The idea of projecting a University to be supported by 
the government took shape in an act introduced in the con- 
gress of the Republic, entitled "An Act to Establish the Uni- 
versity of Texas," which, on April 13, 1838, was referred to a 
special committee (page 7, "House Journal"), but, as far as the 
records show, was not further considered during that session of 

In his message of December 20, 1838, to the third Con- 
gress of the Republic, convened at Houston, President Lamar 
thus expressed his views as to the importance of liberal landed 
provision for the promotion of public education, while the 
domain was ample for the purpose. "The present is a propi- 
tious moment to lay the foundation of a great moral and in- 
tellectual edifice, which will in after ages be hailed as the 
chief ornament and blessing of Texas. A suitable appropria- 
tion of lands to the purpose- of general education can be made 
at this time without inconvenience to the government or the 
people; but defer it till the public domain shall have passed 
from our hands, and the uneducated youths of Texas will con- 
stitute the living monuments of our neglect and our remiss- 
ness. A liberal endowment which will be adequate to the gen- 
eral diffusion of a good rudimental education in every district 
of the republic and to the establishment of a University where 
the highest branches of science may be taught can now be 
effected, without the expenditure of a single dollar. Postpone 
it a few years, and millions will be required to accomplish the 
great design." (Lane's Educational System). 

The area of the Republic was about 395,557 square miles, 
without including the territory afterward sold to the United 

316 The Life and Writings of 

States, which was 125,000 square miles. The Spanish, Mexi- 
can and Colonial grants amounted to 25,000,000 acres. This, 
exclusive of bays, lakes, etc., is about 167,865,600 acres of 
land, of which Texas had the disposal of about 143,000,000 
acres in 1836. Lamar's suggestion met with approval to the 
extent, that the committee on education reported and recom- 
mended the adoption of a bill entitled "An act, to appro- 
priate certain lands for the purpose of establishing a general 
system of education and proposing a grant of three leagues 
(thirteen thousand two hundred and eighty-four acres), of 
the public domain to each county for establishing a primary 
school or academy in the county; and authorizing the Presi- 
dent of the republic to have surveyed from any of the vacant 
domain twenty leagues of land, which were to be set apart 
and appropriated for the establishment and endowment of two 
colleges or universities, one in the eastern, and the other in the 
western part of Texas. 

The act passed with fifty leagues substituted for twenty 
leagues, and was approved January 26, 1839. The same day 
President Lamar approved - an act establishing and incorporat- 
ing the "College of DeKalb" at DeKalb, in Red River county, 
the act naming a board of "superintendents/'' exempted the 
property of the college from taxation, and authorized the board 
in addition to selecting teachers and providing for the educa- 
tional and financial management of the school," to suppress 
and abate nuisances within half a mile in any direction from 
the premises," and to levy and exact a fine of from twenty- 
five to one hundred dollars from all retailers of spirituous 
liquors sold within the prescribed limits. The Congress also 
granted four leagues of land in fee simple for buildings and 
apparatus, and ''for the promotion of arts, literature and 
science. An act of 1840 "Establishing Rutersville College," 
made similar provisions to the preceding. 

The first effort of the government for promoting public 
free schools in the counties was an act of February 5, 1840, 
"In relation to common schools and academies and to provide 
for securing the lands formerly appropriated for purposes of 
education." It made the chief justice and two associate 
justices (then existing officers) of each county, ex officio a 
board of school commissioners, with full power in their re 

Dr. Kufus C. Burleson. 317 

spective counties to receive, lease, and sell all property ap- 
propriated for the schools, and required them to have located 
and surveyed the three leagues of land appropriated under the 
act of January 26, 1839, and granted an additional league 
(four thousand four hundred and twenty-eight acres) for the 
purpose of necessary scientific endowment, one-half of it for 
an academic school and the remainder to be distributed among 
the various common school districts in the county. It pro- 
vided that school districts be organized in the county when the 
population or interests of education required. 

[Numerous private as well as denominational institutions 
of learning were chartered by direct acts of the republic and 
subsequent state legislatures, till a law was enacted by the 
State prescribing a general mode for such incorporations, un- 
der which the charter articles, when framed accordingly, have 
only to be accepted and filed in the State department at Aus- 
tin." (Lane). 

The laudable efforts on the part of the people to secure 
institutions as provided by law, resulted in the establishment 
of only a few of those projected, and but few of these be- 
came permanent and attained positions of prominence. 

Among those that succeeded was Baylor University at 
Independence, which as a chartered institution, as stated else- 
where, was the direct successor of the oldest Female school in 
Texas. "Baylor" was a denominational school under the con- 
trol of the Baptists, and after 1851, under the able manage- 
ment of Dr. R. C. Burleson, attained eminence. 

It will be observed that the same act which incorporated 
"Independence Academy" also included the "University of 
San Augustine." It is curious to note that the history of 
those institutions, which were the first incorporated under the 
Republic, passed through a similar experience in consequence 
of acrimonious differences, which arose in their communities,, 
but from different causes. The facts of Baylor University 
have been stated and the following account of the fate of the 
school at San Augustine we give as recited in ' r The Compre- 
hensive History of Texas." 

"The town of San Augustine is situated on a beautiful 
and fertile strip of red-land country running in an east and 
west direction through the counties of Sabine, San Augustine 

318 The Life akd Writings of 

and Nacogdoches, which was well settled with good farmers 
as early as 1840, and from that time to 1850, that town was one 
of the largest and best-improved towns in all Eastern and 
Northern Texas. It was situated thirty miles west of the 
Sabine River, on the old King's Highway, leading from 
Natchitoches in Louisiana, through Nacogdoches and Bastrop 
to San Antonio. The wagon road made along or near it, com- 
monly called the "San Antonio road," was the principal thor- 
oughfare along which the immigrants came to Texas by land, 
and it was the route of the first stage line through Eastern 
Texas. A master builder, a Mr. Sweet, erected a large two- 
story frame building and sold it to the county of San Augus- 
tine for a league of land that had been given to the county for 
the erection of an academy, though the school had the high- 
sounding name of "The University." A small school having 
been taught in it for several years, in 1843, a gentleman by 
the name of Montrose, of medium size, about 30 years old, and 
apparently good manners and intelligence, appeared at the 
hotel, and learning that there was a large school building in 
the town, let it be known that he was a teacher. The board 
of trustees were soon assembled and sent for him. He was a 
man of few words and very positive in his utterances. He 
said in substance : "All I ask is to give me control of the 
house, and I will build up a large school, that will attract 
scholars to your town." 

They complied with his request, and before the end of the 
second session, he had verified his assertion and had a large 
school, with numbers of scholars from a distance. It so con- 
tinued for several years. One of his great merits as a teacher 
was his control of the scholars in school by a regular system, 
and the anxiety he produced in them to attend school punct- 
uallv and an ardent desire to attend to their studies. He did 
not seek to acquire favor in the community, except through 
his scholars, and was seldom seen upon the streets of the town 
or otherwise in communication with the citizens. He taught 
school as a business strictly, and had no difficulty in collecting 
his tuition through his scholars, although there was a great 
scarcity of money in the country. After his school increased 
his plan for assistance was to engage some of his advanced 
scholars to teach classes under his direction. The school soon 

Dr. Rufus C. Borleson. 319 

became the pride of the town and surrounding country, with a 
united recognition of its advantages. It may be instructive 
to tell how discord and contention were produced that ulti- 
mately led to bad consequences in reference to that and other 
schools in that place. 

A Methodist preacher came there fresh from "The 
States," as the United States were then called, and preached a 
sermon in favor of "perfect sanctification on this earth," the 
most numerous denomination of Christians there being Metho- 
dists. Professor Montrose, being a Presbyterian, and a good 
reader, had occasionally read sermons, as a layman, to a few 
Presbyterians and others on Sunday. By their urgency he 
was induced to read in public a sermon opposed to the doc- 
trine advanced by the Methodist minister, who promptly chal- 
lenged him for a public debate on the subject. Professor Mont- 
rose, though not a preacher, was pressed into the debate by 
his religious friends; moderators were chosen to regulate the 
debate, and it was held before a large audience. Professor 
Montrose simply read extracts from books when it came to his 
turn to speak, and he did it with such impressiveness as to make 
it appear that he had achieved a victory over the challenger. 
At once a religious storm was raised. There being a number of 
prominent Methodist preachers and other leading citizens of 
that denomination in the town and in the surrounding country, 
it was readily determined to put up in that place a Methodist 
College. A large three-story frame building was erected, and 
an excellent teacher, as well as preacher, was brought "from 
Ohio to take charge of the College. His name was Jones, a 
cousin of Bishop Jones. Other Methodist preachers were en- 
gaged to teach in the college and several Presbyterian min- 
isters were engaged to assist Professor Montrose. Both schools 
prospered for several years, with scholars in each to the num- 
ber of one hundred and fifty! San Augustine claimed to be 
the Athens of Texas. * * * The rivalry that made a 
spasmodic success for a time for both schools could not last 
long. Professor Jones left the college, and it declined and was 
. sold to the trustees of the so-called university for a female 
institute. Professor Montrose, hampered with assistants, con- 
trary to his own plan of ' getting them by engaging his ad- 
vanced students, left and afterwards taught at Nacogdoches, 

320 The Life and Writings of 

and at Anderson in 1857. The university, as it was called, 
struggled along for a time under its trustees, but gradually 
declined, and that place has never been able to keep up a good 
school since its failure. Both of the buildings have been 
burned, and the vacant places where they stood attest the sad 
calamity of a religious rivalry entering the management of 
the schools of a community, where it assumes the character of 
a bitter partisanship." 

Another denominational school was Rutersville Col- 
lege the first Methodist school chartered in Texas of the 
many educational enterprises put on foot by that vigorous de- 
nomination, including McKenzie College at Clarksville, Wes- 
leyan College at San Augustine, and Souie University at 
Chappell Hill. The unsatisfactory history of these scattered 
enterprises led to the concentration in late years of all their 
chartered rights in the "Southwestern University" at George- 
town, which has become an ornament to all Texas. This 
policy of consolidation, in a modified form, as we shall notice 
later on, was afterward adopted by the Baptists. 

The subject might be still further enlarged, possibly with 
pleasure and profit, but as it is only contemplated to sketch an 
outline of the measures adopted by the fathers of the Re- 
public, that constitutes the foundation of the fabric upon 
which has been erected the present school system of Texas, all 
details are omitted, except such as are calculated to show the 
temper of the people in a few instances, and to lead up to Dr. 
Burleson's connection with public education. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 321 


Progress of Education in Texas Under State Rule An- 
nexation of Texas to the United States Texas Re- 
tains Her Unappropriated Public Domain The Con- 
stitution of 1845 Legislative Provision for Educa- 
tion Dr. R. C. Burleson Arrives in Texas The 
Civil War 1861 to 1865 The Constitution of Texas 
as a State in the Confederacy Surrender of the 
Confederacy The Interregnum Followed by Mili- 
tary Occupation The Peabody Eund, Its Infuence 
on Education. 

** HE State of Texas surrendered its sovereignty as an in- 
?55 dependent nation through a convention of the people 
**& l assembled at Austin July 4, 1815, and adopted res- 
olutions for the annexation of the state, in harmony with a 
resolution passed by the congress of the United States. Among 
other stipulations it was provided, tlTat the Republic of Texas 
should retain as a state in the Union all its vacant and un- 
appropriated public domain. 

The constitution that was adopted when Texas became 
a State, provided for education as follows : 

Article 7 section 8, made a restriction on State appro- 
priations of money by declaring, that appropriations of money 
should not be made for a longer period than two years, ex- 
cept for purposes of education. 

Article 10, asserted 1st. A general diffusion of knowl- 
edge being essential to the preservation of the rights and lib- 
erties of the people, it shall be the duty of the legislature of 
this State to make suitable provision for the support and main- 
tenance of public schools. 


-- The Live and Wettings of 

2. The Legislature shall, as early a? practicable, estab- 
lish free schools throughout the State, and shall furnish means 
for their support by Taxation on property, and it shall be the 
duty of the Legislature to set apart not less than one-tenth of 
the annual revenue of the State, derivable from taxation, as a 
perpetual fund, which fund shall be appropriated to the sup- 
port of free public schools: and no law shall ever be made, 
diverting said fund to any other use: and until such time as the 
gislature shall provide for the establishment of such schools, 
in the several districts of the State, the fund thus created shall 
remain as a charge against the State, passed to the credit of 
the free common school fund. 

0. All public lands which have been heretofore, or may 
hereafter be granted for public schools, to the various counties, 
or other political divisions in this State, shall not be alienated 
in fee, nor disposed of otherwise than by lease, for a term not 
exceeding twentv vears. in such manner as the Legislature may 

4. The several counties in this State, which have not 
received their quanitity of lands for the purposes of education, 
shall be entitled to the same quantity heretofore appropriated 
by the Congress of the flepublic of Texas to other counties. 

In accordance with the provisions of the constitution the 
following acts were passed by the Legislature in support of the 
common free school system : 

An act of 1S4C set a precedent of municipal taxation for 
the support of free schools in which the Legislature authorized 
the corporation of Galveston to levy a tax for such purpose, 
limited to one-half per cent, on the value of the real estate of 
the corporation. 

An act of January 16, 1^49. exempted from taxation all 
buildings with furniture and library used solely for purposes 
of education, together with the lands owned bv the educational 
institutions, not ext-eedino- ten acres, on which thev are sit- 

An act of January 16, 1850, appropriated four leagues of 
land to all organized counties as provided in the act of 1S39. 

An act of Februarv 1, 1850, authorized the survev of 
three leagues of land for the University in lieu of the survev- 


- ' 



I fund 
in railr 


An act of - 


... - 


An a . 



for fund i] f rall- 


An act of 182 statute of ] 

may hereafter 

ha' _ fter be granted 


An act ruary : 

i the TJ 
hundred thor - 

Stai - it the fifl _ - 

ginally - 

322 The Life and \Y 


2. Che Legislature shall, as early as practicable, estab- 
lish free schools throughout the State, and shall furnish moans 
for their support by taxation on property, and it shall be the 
dnty of the Legislature to sot apart not loss than one-tenth of 
the annual revenue of the State, derivable from taxation, as a 
perpetual fund, which fund shall be appropriated to the sup- 
port o{ free public schools; and no law shall ever be made, 
diverting said fund to any other use; and until such time as the 
Legislature shall provide for the establishment of such schools, 
in the several districts of the State, the fund tints created shall 
remain as a charge against the State, passed to the credit oi 
the free common school fund. 

All public Lands which have been heretofore, or may 
hereafter be granted for public - shools, to the various counties, 
or other political divisions in this State, shall not be alienated 
in fee, nor disposed of otherwise than by lease, for a term not 
exceeding twenty years, in such manner as the Legislature may 

4. The several counties in this State, which have not 
received their quanitity of land- for the purpose- of education, 
shall be entitled to the same quantity heretofore appropriated 
by the Congress ^i the Republic of Texas to other counties, 

In accordance with the provisions of the constitution the 
following acts wore passed by the Legislature in support of the 
common free school system : 

An act of lS-tti set a precedent of municipal taxation t\>v 
the support of tree schools in which the Legislature authorized 
the corporation of Galveston to levy a tax for such purpose, 
limited to one-half per cent, on the value of the real estate of 
the corporation. 

An act of January L6, L849, exempted from taxation all 
buildings with furniture and library used solely for purposes 
i^' education, together with the lands owned by the educational 
Institutions, not exceeding ten acres, on which they are sit- 

Aieiri of January L6, L850, appropriated four leagues of 
land to all organized counties a- provided in the act o( L839. 

An act .<{ February 1. L850, authorized the survey of 
three leagues of land for the University in lieu of the survey- 

De. RiiFUfi C. Bi ble 823 

losl by failure to return the field notes of the surveys made 
under the act of l 339. 

An acl of January 31, L854, appropriated two million 
dollars of 5 per cent, bonds of the Dniti s ates remaining in 
the State treasury of iIjo amount received from the gem 

emmenl in I fctlement of the boundary question, i 

school fund for the support and maintainance of public schools, 
to be called the "special school fund;" the interest therefrom to 
be distributed for the benefit of the school fund. This fund 

- afterwards authorized to be invested in railroad bondf 
encourage railroad construction in the State. 

An acl of January 30, L854, to encourage the construc- 
tion of railroads in Texas," and the act of February 1 1. L854, 
relative to the Galveston and Brazos Navigation Company, 
appropriated "alternate sections," of land- in large quantities 
to the railroads and navigation companies and to the I 

ool fund, the corporations being required to survey the 
school sections for the State, as roll as their own land-. Tl 
grants aggregated many millions of acres, including about 
thirl million acres to the railroad-. 


An act of Augusl 30, L856, provided for the survey of 
fifty leagues of [Jniversity land-, appropriated by the act of 
L839, under certain stipulations respecting the - : Also 

how it -liould be divided and sold; the minimum price per 
acre, and the payments and interest. The proceeds 
constitute a I'm' fund. Another act in 1856 provided 

for "investments of the special school fund in bonds of rail- 
road companies incorporated by th< 5 

An act of L856 provided that "no statute of limitations 
shall run in favor of any one who has heretofore settled on 
may hereafter settle upon or occupy any of the lands that 
have heretofore been granted, or may hereafter be granted for 
purposes of education." 

An act of February 11. 1-:--. known as the HTJniv 
Act of L858" provided for the organization and establishing 
of the [Jniversity. It granted the University of T< >ne 

hundred thousand dollar- in United States bonds, then in the 
- te treasury; transferred to it the fifty leagues of land ori- 
ginally set apart by the Republic of Texas f r >r the "endowment 
of two colleges or universities," and further set apart to it 

326 The Life and Writings of 

period and will be made acquainted in subsequent chapters 
with his after life when he became an educator in charge of 
Waco University, in 1861, located at Waco Texas, and since 
rechristened Baylor University through consolidation. It was 
in this institution where his life-work was accomplished in the 
education of hundreds of the youth of the land who received 
the benefits of his instruction. It was here he acquired a 
prominence as an educator which proved him an authority in 
the estimation of the people of Texas and elsewhere, and thi- 
popularity gave assurance that he would be heard with defer- 
ence on all subjects appertaining to education. lie thus be- 
came eminently qualified to instruct the masses when the 
proper time arrived, on the subject of public schools, and it 
was through his indefatigable exertion and earnest solicitation, 
more than any other one man that they became an accom- 
plished fact, which will be the unbiased judgment of the pub- 
lic when all the evidence is in. 

It is appropriate that we should introduce Dr. Burleson 
on the stage of this feature of his service for education in 
Texas at the earliest moment consistent with history. In 
forecasting his after-life at this time, it serves as an introduc- 
tion to his great achievements in administering the Peabody 
Education Fund, with which he became so closelv identified 
in Texas a few years later. 

We have arrived at a period in the history of education 
in Texas when nearly the whole system collapsed under the 
terrible visitation of civil war and its after results which in- 
cluded a period of about eight years. During the first half 
of these years IS 6 1.-1865, the government and the people of 
Texas was absorbed by measures and conditions relating to 
military operations. A universal patriotic enthusiasm was 
manifested in the cause of secession throughout the struggle 
for independence on the part of the Confederate States, and. as 
the people of the Xorth figuratively testified, the Confederacy 
robbed both the cradle and the grave, to recruit its armies by 
voluntary enlistment of its old men and youth. Nevertheless 
a few schools were maintained during the struggle and nota- 
bly the one over which Dr. Burleson presided. 

The constitutional convention of 1861, held during the 
secession of the Southern States, adopted the constitution of 

Dr. Rttfus C. Buklesox. 327 

1845 with some amendments, adapting it to the new order of 
things, but without changing article 10, on education or the 
two years provision as to appropriation for educational pur- 

At the termination of the war and with the collapse of the 
Southern Confederacy, all military and civil government was 
substantially at an end. There was for more than two months 
an interregnum in the government of Texas. And although 
the State was full of soldiers with guns in their hands and 
under no authority, yet the utmost order everywhere prevailed. 
They were filled with despair at the results of their heroic 
efforts in behalf of liberty, but they were alive to the necessi- 
ties of civilization and they exhibited a love of order and re- 
spect for the rights of person and property that w r as creditable 
to the reputation they had sustained as soldiers of the "Lost 
Cause." The people having accepted the results of the strug- 
gle they made the best of the situation that was possible. 
Schools were opened throughout the country, and thousands 
of young men, who had volunteered as youths in their coun- 
try's cause laid aside the trappings of war, and returned to the 
school room, fully realizing their deficiencies and in search of 
an education which had been interrupted at the most impor- 
tant period in their lives. With enthusiasm they had put aside 
their school books when their services were required in their 
country's defence, and history records their merit as soldiers, 
but many of them resumed their studies as cripples or phy- 
sical wrecks, resulting from the vicissitudes of war and disease. 

The distracted condition of the country during the several 
years which followed, was not conducive to the establishment 
of educational institutions. Civil government was suspended 
and the country was impoverished. The people were at the 
feet of the conqueror and the radical element among them 
being in the majority suppressed the conservative measures 
advocated for restoring the Southern states to the Union and 
for rehabilitating the country. The evils resulting from a 
free indulgence of such passions were disastrous and demora- 
lizing. In 1807 a mighty impetus was given to the cause of 
education in the Southern states, by the creation of the Pea- 
body Education Fund. This noble benefaction came at an 
opportune time, and the good it effected can not be overes- 

32 S The Life axd Writings of 

timated, in relation to the poverty and ignorance that was then 
stalking abroad in the land. 

By some of the worst desolated states the charity was 
grasped with avidity, and these consequently were soonest in 
possession of a successful system of public schools; but ns 
benefits were generally slow in reaching those for whom the 
fund was created. The reasons were manifold which hindered 
and retarded its application. The greatest obstacle was in the 
people themselves. They were required by the regulations 
ordained by the Trustees of the Fund, to comply with certain 
requirements before they could become beneficiaries. The 
rule of the Trustees was that they would help those most, who 
helped themselves most, and if nothing was done in that direc- 
tion they would withhold their benefaction. 

The benefits of this Fund to public education in Texas, 
and it might be said to all education, for all was stimulated, 
is shown hereafter in connection with the influence it exerted 
in bringing about results, which have been so firmly estab- 
lished in the educational institutions of the State. 

Dr. Eufus C. Burleson. 320 


Education in Texas Under the Provisional Government 
Military Occupation Emancipation Order Ham- 
ilton Provisional Governor Organization of the 
Civil Government Election Order Constitution 
of 1866 Throckmorton Governor Provision for 
Education Republican Reconstruction Civil Gov- 
ernor Removed E. M. Pease Appointed Provisional 
Governor Constitution of 1868 Provisions for 
Education Eirst Public Free School in Texas was 
Opened September 4th, 1871 Dr. B. Sears' Report 
as General Agent of the Peabody Fund The Tax- 
payers' Convention. 

\ 1ST the 19th of June, 1865, General Gordon Granger, 
mmg of the United States army, by proclamation at Gal- 
fmffii J veston, assumed command over Texas, and issued an 
order declaring "all acts of the Governor and Legislature of 
Texas, since the ordinance of secession was adopted illegiti- 
mate, and called upon all Confederate and State officers and 
soldiers to repair to certain designated places in the State tc 
be paroled. On the same date he also declared the negroes 
to be free, from which fact the negroes of Texas have ever 
since celebrated June 19, as "Emancipation Day." 

Many measures effecting public education in the State 
came within these dates, and hence many things must be done 
de novo. 

After passing through a period of reconstruction, a con- 
stitutional convention was held January 7th, 1866, and James 

330 The Life and Writings of 

W. Throckmorton was elected President. This convention 
adopted a constitution, submitted it to a vote of the people 
who ratified it, and in an election which followed Mr. Throck- 
morton was elected Governor. 

This constitution amended the provisions of article 10, 
on education, "by declaring that the Legislature shall, as early 
as possible establish a system of free schools throughout the 
State, and as a basis for the endowment and support of said 
system, all the funds, lands and other property heretofore 
set apart, or that may hereafter be set apart and appropriated 
for the support and maintenance of public schools, shall con- 
stitute the public school fund; and said fund and the income 
derived therefrom shall be a perpetual fund for the education 
of all the white scholastic inhabitants of this State, and no law 
shall ever be made appropriating said fund to any other use 
or purpose. It further provided that all the alternate sections 
of land reserved by the State out of previous or future grants 
to railroad companies or other corporations for internal im- 
provements, or for the development of the wealth on resources 
of the State, shall be set apart as the permanent school fund of 
the State; that the legislature shall hereafter appropriate one- 
half of the proceeds of sale of public lands to the perpetual 
school fund, and shall provide for the levying of a tax for 
educational purposes, and that the sum arising from said tax 
which may be collected from Africans or persons of African 
descent, shall be exclusively appropriated for the maintenance 
of a system of public schools for Africans and their children; 
that the University funds shall be invested in like manner 
provided for the public school fund, and the legislature shall 
have no power to appropriate the University fund for any 
other purpose than that of the maintenance of universities. 
and shall at an early day make such provision by law as will 
organize and put into operation the University. The Governor 
in his inaugural address thus graphically described the situa- 

"We have just emerged from the most terrible conflict 
known to modern times, with homes made dreary and deso- 
late by the hand of war, the people impoverished and groaning 
under public and private debt ; the great industrial energies of 
the country sadly depressed, occupying in some respects the 

Dr. Rufus C. Burlesox. 331 

position of a State in the Union, and in others the condition 
of a conquered province; exercising only such privileges as the 
conqueror in his wisdom and mercy may allow; the loyalty of 
the people to the government doubted; their integrity ques- 
tioned; their holiest aspirations for peace and restoration dis- 
believed, malinged and traduced by a constant misapprehen- 
sion of their most innocent actions and intentions." Defama- 
tions continued to influence the hostility at the North, and 
aggravate their feelings toward the Southern people. A mili- 
tary government was established, and the highest welfare 
of the people for a time seems to have been forgotten. But 
through it all Dr. Burleson never relinguished his life pur- 
pose, not lost sight of the proposition that the perpetuity of 
republican institutions depends upon an educated constituency. 

The Reconstruction Convention which assembled June 
1, 18GS, framed a State Constitution which was finally ratified 
by the people in July 1869. This Constitution eliminated 
from that of 1866 all those provisions against "race discrimi- 
nations," and was so changed as to provide that ''the perpetual 
school fund shall be applied, as needed, exclusively for the 
education of all the scholastic inhabitants of the State, and no 
law shall ever be made appropriating such fund for any other 
use or purpose." It was also provided that "All sums of money 
that may come to this State from the sale of any portion of the 
public domain of the State shall also constitute a part of the 
public school fund. And the legislature shall appropriate all 
the proceeds resulting from sales of public lands, to such 
public school fund, and shall set apart for the benefit of the 
public schools one-fourth of the annual revenue derivable from 
general taxation; and shall also cause to be levied and collected 
an annual poll-tax of one dollar on all male persons in this 
State, between the ages of 21 and 60 years, for the benefit 
of public schools." "And said fund and the income therefrom 
and the taxes herein provided, for school purposes shall be a 
perpetual fund to be applied" as above. 

The Constitution declared the Ordinance of Secession 
of 1861 and all legislation based thereon, a nullity. It also 
declared that the Legislature, which assembled in Austin, 
August 6, 1866, was provisional only. The invalidating of all 
debts under the Confederal v caused a loss to the Universitv 

332 The Life axd Writings of 

fund of $74,S04.48, in consequence of having received 
that amount in "Confederate notes" in payment for University 
lands and turned over to the Confederate States depository. 
Xo estimate seems to have been made with respect to the losses 
sustained by the free school fund and other special trusts by 
the State being prohibited from paying any debt involving 
Confederate money. 

Provision for the establishment of Public Free Schools 
was made under a new school law which was passed April 4, 
1871, in which ample powers were given to the school authori- 
ties, and in which the scholastic age was placed at from sis 
to eighteen years and attendance at school was required by 
law. The first public free schools were opened in Texas on 
September 4, 1871, under the administration of Provisional 
Governor E. J. Davis and with J. C. De Gress (appointed by 
Davis) as State Superintendent of Education. 

Governor O. M. Roberts says in relation to this period, 
"Public free schools were established with the same central 
control by a school board at Austin, with district supervisors 
and county superintendents, and with taxes levied in the coun- 
ties to build school houses. Parents were compelled to send 
their children of a certain age to school under a penalty for 
failure to do it. Immense bounties of land were given to 
railroad companies, and in one case a large amount of money 
was donated, the payment of which was prevented only by the 
stern honesty of the Treasurer, A. Bledsoe, who refused to 
sign the bonds issued to secure it, and which bounty gave the 
State no little trouble afterwards." Hon. J. J. Lane says, 
"An act of 1871, amended the general school law by providing 
that the Board of Education shall apportion the territory of the 
State anew into convenient educational districts. The State 
Superintendent was authorized to appoint the district super- 
visors, the supervisors were to appoint the school directors and 
could act as examiners of teachers. Thus, the school officers 
were very numerous and involved an expense that was well 
calculated to exhaust the school fund, if not to bankrupt the 
State, if the system was maintained. At all events, it was too 
extravagant for maintenance by the counties." 

Dr. Sears as general agent of the Peabody Education 
Fund reported to the Trustees February, 1871, as follows: 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 333 

"A little more than a year ago, I visited this remote State, 
and found than nothing could be accomplished for the object 
of my mission till after the session of the first Legislature under 
the new constitution, which required the immediate enactment 
of a school law. That body has at length passed a law, but it 
seems not to be very satisfactory to the people. It makes the 
members of the police court of the county a Board of School 
Directors. It declares "that the Board of School Directors 
shall be subject to the rules and directions and supervision of 
the Superintendent of Public Instruction." 

The governor nominated a Superintendent, but the 
Senate refused to confirm the appointment. ISFo other nomi- 
nation has been made, and the office is still vacant. Thus the 
whole system is rendered inoperative, and it is not known that 
any county has taken measures for carrying out the provisions 
of the law. In consequence of this failure, I have not yet 
been able to effect anything for schools in Texas." 

In Dr. Sears' annual report to the Trustees of the Pea- 
body Fund in June, 1872, he gives a synopsis of the State 
school law in connection with the following statistics gathered 
from the Report of the Superintendent : 

"The school fund, after being sadly plundered, is still 
larger than that of any Southern State, being $2,285,279. 
The number of children of school age in the State is, accord- 
ing to the imperfect returns recently made, 227,615. Of 
these 63,501 (increased to about 90,000, April 5), have been 
already brought into the public schools. Of the 1,321 schools, 
1,107 have been graded. Teachers have been well paid, male 
and female receiving equal compensation, and, consequently, 
capable persons could generally be obtained for the office. 
The schools were organized through the agency of the Super- 
visors of the thirty-live Judicial Districts. This number of 
Supervisors has, from considerations of economy, been reduced 
to twelve. Only one or two public school houses were found 
in the State at the beginning of last year." He further 
remarks : "I can safely assert that until the present time we 
have never had an educational law free from most glaring 
defects." In a Supplemental Report he adds: ''While at 
every step this department has met with stubborn opposition, 
the experience of the last three months has demonstrated that 

334 The Life and Writings of 

the sovereigns of the soil are fully alive to the importance and 
necessity of free schools." In a letter, written nearly at the 
same time, he says : "I cannot sufficiently thank you for 
your kind suggestions concerning the donation intended for 
this State I recommend the wisdom of the plans proposed, 
and shall enter into a hearty co-operation with you in exe- 
cuting the same." '"The State has made an appropriation of 
over $500,000, a part of which is in the State Treasury. " 

Roberts savs, in reviewing the administration of these 
times, that "Such were the extravagant appropriations of 
money and the lavish expenditure of it, and such were the 
violations of the Constitution in the administration of affairs, 
that the whole country became alarmed at the excesses 
being continually perpetrated, and conservative men of all 
parties determined to arrest the ruinous policy if possible. For 
that purpose a meeting was called to assemble at Austin, by 
both Republicans and Democrats. This non-partisan meet- 
ing was called the "Taxpayers' Convention of 1871.''' It 
was held September 22, 23 and 25, 1871. It was composed of 
the leading citizens of the State. 

Dr. Burleson warmly supported this movement, and, 
while not sent as a delegate, the action of the convention con- 
tributed largely toward securing a Democratic Legislature in 
the election of 1873. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 335 


The Peabody Education Fund George Peabody His 
Character His Death Munificent Bequest Dr. 
Barnas Sears General Agent of the Fund Dr. 
Rufus C. Burleson's Appointment as Lecturer for 
the Fund in Texas His First Quarterly Report. 

Q EORGE PEABODY, the enlightened and beneficent 
=r^? founder of the trust which bears his name, was a 
J native of Massachusetts, but for many years was a 
resident of London, "England, where he accumulated a large 
fortune. With characteristic sagacity, he was among the 
first to foresee the evils which would be entailed on the South- 
ern States of America by the ravages of the great Civil War, 
and the consequent inability of the people of those States to 
extend to the rising generation the blessing of education." 
Discarding every feeling of a sectional character, and acting 
with a magnanimity almost without a parallel in history, he 
dedicated several millions of dollars of his private fortune "to 
be held by trustees (named by himself) and their successors, 
and the income thereof used and applied, in their discretion, 
for the promotion and encouragement of intellectual, moral 
and industrial education among the young of the more desti- 
tute portions of the Southern and Southwestern States of our 
Union;" his purpose being that the benefits intended should 
be distributed among the entire population and without other 
distinction than their needs and the opportunities of useful- 
ness to them. 

The letter of the great philanthropist was dated Wash- 
ington, February 1, 1867. The trustees met and effected an 
organization the following day. 

336 The Life and Writings of 

Mr. Peabody added a second princely gift of over $51,- 
000,000 to bis original donation June 29, 1869. He sailed for 
Liverpool on the 29th of September following, and died in 
London on the 4th of ]STovember of the same year. 

His death was greatly lamented, and his acts afforded a 
theme of eloquent tributes commemorative of his character. 
He was the subject of funeral honors by command of Queen 
Victoria. His remains, after resting for a few davs under the 
consecrated arches of Westminster Abbey, were brought to 
the United States, by order of the Queen, in H. B. M. iron- 
clad steamer "Monarch," which was accompanied by the 
United States ship of war "Plymouth." He was buried, 
agreeably to his own wishes, in his family tomb in Harmony 
Grove Cemetery, in Danvers, Mass., on the 8th of February, 

George Peabody did not wait for posthumous execution 
of his munificence by refraining from parting with his millions 
until death should have wrested them from a reluctant grasp. 
His charity was of his own designing. The noble aspirations 
of his early manhood, which contemplated the acquisition of 
wealth for the purpose of disposing of it by doing some great 
good to his fellow-men was realized in the opportunity offered 
at the close of the sanguinary struggle in his native land, 
which impoverished the overpowered Confederate States and 
left them at the mercy of ignorance. The hopeless condition 
of the Southern people was manifest, with their 4,500,000 
emancipated slaves recently associated in the political man- 
agement of affairs, and fostered by a military despotism. 

George Peabody grasped the situation and saw "the edu- 
cational needs of those portions of our beloved and common 
country which has suffered from the destructive ravages, and 
the not less disastrous consequences, of civil war." By his 
prompt action in bestowing the gift and in his discrimination, 
which secured efficient trustees and agents for its distribution, 
he gained a place by himself far above all competition or com- 
parison as having done the greatest good for the greatest num- 
ber of his fellow-men, and in all human annals he should be 
esteemed as pre-eminent among the many benefactors of man- 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 337 

Tlie history of education in the United States would be 
incomplete which did not introduce George Peabody and his 
patriotic benefactions in behalf of the South at a critical 
period in the history of those States. In their then impov- 
erished condition the people were unable to provide educa- 
tional facilities for the white children who, for eight years, had 
been growing up in ignorance during the continuance of the 
war, and after its close, because all efforts in that direction 
were restrained, for the education of the masses, by the blight- 
ing influences of military occupation. The country was in the 
power of selfish and malignant influences, and threatened by 
a semi-barbarous generation under universal suffrage seeking 
to control the destinies of a section of the country which 
needed all the resources of knowledge, science and art to 
recuperate and fully develop its energies. Men of elevated 
character and -ability throughout the Southern States were 
fully impressed with the importance of establishing an educa- 
tional system, and were in a state of anxiety when contemplat- 
ing the preponderance of ignorance which threatened the 

The Board of Trustees of the Peabody Fund appointed 
Rev. Dr. Barnas Sears, President of Brown University, Rhod6 
Island, their general agent. The wisdom of this appointment 
cannot be questioned. He was eminently fitted for the work 
contemplated by the endowment. His high intellectual gifts 
and large attainments, and administrative ability, coupled with 
his social distinction, qualified him for entering upon such a 
vast field of labor, where so much was to be accomplished. Dr. 
Sears was a great man, statesman and philosopher as well as 
an educator. Through, his industry and patience in removing 
obstacles, he succeeded in laying the foundation for a system 
of public schools for the South. 

His fidelity in the discharge of his duties and the results 
flowing from the administration of the great Peabody bequest 
up to the time of his death, at Saratoga, July 6, 1880, will 
commemorate him as the friend and benefactor of the South- 
ern people. 

It was through Dr. Sears that the State of Texas became 
a beneficiary of the Peabody Fund. In December, 1869, he 
said: ''I visited the State shortly after the adoption of the 


''>> The Life and Weitings of 

new Constitution. All eyes were turned to tlie Legislature 
about to be convened. Great interest was being manifested 
on the subject of a system of public instruction. I had an 
interview with the Governor-elect, with members of both 
branches ' of the Legislature and others. I was earnestly 
requested by them all to visit Austin during the session of the 
Legislature. As nothing could be done in Texas until that 
time, I made preparation for future action by addressing cir- 
culars to cities in the interior setting forth my plans of action, 
and requesting co-operation as soon as the necessary laws 
should have been passed." He says in his report of February, 
1870 : "The present is a time of great interest in Texas with 
respect to all that relates to its social and moral condition. 
While I was in Texas three different committees were ap- 
pointed to confer with the Legislature on the subject of a 
system of public instruction." 

Dr. Burleson says in an unpublished paper: "A broad 
and magnificent system of free schools was the early pride and 
glory of our Texas fathers. They made the grandest provision 
for the future establishment of free schools of any nation in 
ancient or modem times. But Gov. E. J. Davis and his 
allies, by their miserable management, made the free school 
system odious in so much that when that learned and practi- 
cal sage and philosopher, Dr. Barnas Sears, general agent of 
the Peabody Fund, came to Texas in 1869, expecting to make 
an appropriation of $60,000, he returned home in sadness, 
and reported to the Trustees of the fund, assembled at White 
Sulphur Springs, Virginia, that it was useless to appropriate 
anything to Texas in her present situation; and suggested that 
unless some Texas educator, well and favorably known, could 
be induced to canvass the whole State, and correct the mistakes 
and explain the abuses of E. J. Davis and his allies, the free 
school system of Texas would be set back twenty-five, if not 
fifty, years. By the earnest importunity of Dr. Sears for the 
Trustees of the Peabody Fund and other true friends of free 
schools, I reluctantly consented to canvass the State and cor- 
rect these abuses, which would result in saving the 3,542,400 
acres of county school lands for the children of Texas. 

"I was astonished to find in my tour the fearful array of 
prejudice agaist a free school system. In several places lead- 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 339 

ing educators denounced my advocacy of free schools as 
unworthy of an old Texas educator. Even threats and insults 
opposed me." 

It was not, however, until 187-1 that Dr. Sears appointed 
Dr. R. C. Burleson special agent and lecturer for one year in 
Texas. In this selection Dr. Sears exhibited his usual good 
sense in choosing the most competent men available in each 
State to assist him in carrying into effect the intention of the 
great trust. Dr. Burleson, however, says that "he was 
appointed because he knew everybody, was not afraid of any- 
body, and was a friend to free schools." 

Previous to this Dr. Burleson's services were enlisted in 
the cause of the Peabody Fund, during Dr. Sears' visit to the 
State in 1869, but the extent of his labors in its behalf are not 
accurately known, until the time when he entered upon his 
duties as State lecturer. His first quarterly report is herein 
given : 

First Quarterly Report or Rufus C. Burlesox, From 
April 21st, 1874, to July 21th, 1871. 

To Dr. B. Sears, Through Prof. 0. N. Hollingsivorth, Super- 
intendent of Public Instruction for the State of Texas : 

Dear Sir I have the honor to submit my first quarterly 
report as State Lecturer on Common Schools under the Pea- 
body Education Fund. 

I went immediately from Austin on receiving my com- 
mission, April 21st, 1871, to the city of Galveston. I found 
my old friend. General Thomas 1ST. Waul, the Superintendent 
of Common Schools in Galveston County, fully alive to the 
great cause of universal education, and determined to make 
Galveston the banner county in Texas in the efficiency of her 
common schools. 

I found things, however, in a very confused and chaotic 
state, chief! v because of the fact that the old De Gress Board, 
in the absence of any regulation, had reappointed themselves 
as Trustees of the county for one year. Neither the people 
nor the teachers had confidence in these self-appointed Trus- 
tees; hence there was but little co-operation and much con- 
fusion as to the distinct duties of the School Directors and the 

340 The Life and Writings of 

School Trustees. As a consequence, the teachers were 
appointed and left to work out their own salvation and do that 
which was right in their own eyes. It is justice to Jas. P. Cole 
and others, on the old De Gress Board, to state that they pro- 
tested against this disreputable self-appointment, and tendered 
at once their resignations to General Waul, but he and other 
good citizens urged and prevailed upon him and his honorable 
minority to remain and restrain the majority from doing fur- 
ther mischief. 

I found over 6,000 children under the scholastic age in 
the county, and nearly all of them in the city of Galveston. 

I visited and delivered lectures before all the principal 
schools. I found them, as a whole, doing well. Some of 
them were very high models in discipline in the manner and 
ability of teaching. Mrs. Goodwin's school was equal to any 
I have ever visited in Texas. 

I made an effort to organize a Teachers' Institute, but 
found it impracticable, as nearly all the schools were drawing 
to a close, and there was great uncertainty whether the same 
teachers would remain in the common schools. Indeed most 
of them had resolved not to continue to teach unless there was 
a general remodeling and greater certainty in regard to prompt 
pay. They, however, expressed a great anxiety to organize a 
Teachers' Institute as soon as the common schools reopened, 
provided they continued to teach. I have found the same 
difficulty existing all over the State, and I deferred organizing 
Teachers' Institutes till fall. 

I found that great confusion and dissatisfaction exists in 
regard to the salaries of teachers. The matter being left to 
each district, I found one district giving higher salaries to 
inferior teachers than was being paid to teachers of higher 
grade and greater ability and experience in an adjoining dis- 
trict. And some inexperienced colored female teachers were 
receiving salaries equal to Mrs. Goodwin. Also, in some in- 
stances, one district would offer higher wages to induce a fav- 
orite teacher to remove into another district. I suggested as 
an immediate remedy for these evils that as soon as the new 
teachers were elected a convention should be called and all the 
schools be well graded; also, that the salaries of teachers be 

Dr. Eufus C. Burleson. 341 

made uniform according to the grade of the school and the 
experience and ability of the teacher. 

I am convinced from what I have seen in all our large 
towns and cities, including Galveston, Houston, Jefferson, 
Dallas, Sherman and Denison, that the present law must be 
so amended as to permit all large cities and densely populated 
counties to elect a special city or county superintendent a 
man of great ability as an organizer and experience as a 
teacher to superintend and regulate all these things. He 
should be paid aud required to devote his time to the duties 
assigned to him. 

I conferred with the Mayor and many leading citizens 
relative to the importance of making a special effort to elect, 
at the approaching election, the best men in the county aa 
Trustees, and to use every influence to co-operate with Glen. 
"Waul in making the common schools in Galveston a great suc- 
cess. Galveston secured, years ago, eligible lots for school 
buildings at the instigation of County Judge Jas. P. Cole. 

As soon as I learned the new Trustees were elected, I 
returend to Galveston, and delivered a lecture to a convention 
of all the teachers in the county, in which I pointed out the 
defects I found existing in the former schools. They 
appointed a committee of one teacher from each district to 
meet monthly and confer fully on all the great interests of the 
schools, and also a committee to provide school houses. 

I was rejoiced to find the Trustees were the very best 
citizens of Galveston. I promised them to return when the 
schools open and organize a Teacher's Institute, at which time 
the Honorable Mayor promises to call a mass-meeting of citi- 
zens in behalf of common schools. 

If we can demonstrate in a few great centers of influence 
the efficiency of the common school system, then we can dispel 
the doubts and break down the prejudices so common in Texas 
against its adoption ; hence I propose to direct special attention 
to those places. 

I am happy to report that I found two of the colored 
schools in Galveston in a very fine condition. The school 
taught by Miss Fanny Williams (F. "W. C.) and the Barns 
Institute were conducted in such a manner as to give me 

342 The Life abd Wettings of 

renewed confidence in the possibility of educating the colored 

Houston and Harris County I found less favorable to 
common schools. The schools generally had not met the pub- 
lic expectation and were not well organized. Dr. Ashbel 
Smith, the learned County Superintendent, lives remote from 
Houston, the county seat, but has done the best he could under 
the circumstances. I visited the schools at an unfortunate 
time, as they were in recess, preparing for their May festivities 
on a large scale. 

At Hockley I found a better spirit and a determination 
to reorganize in September with a full corps of efficient 

At Crockett and in Houston County I found a disposition 
to co-operate and build up common schools, but there was a 
strong inclination to complicate with some cherished private 
school. In my address to them I endeavored to explain 
clearly the present school law, and the importance of keeping 
common schools free from entangling alliances, but, should 
necessity require a temporary blending, the terms ought to be 
well defined, because no aid could be received from the Pea- 
body Fund except for common free schools. 

At Huntsville, in Walker County. I found a dead acqui- 
escence in favor of common schools without any well defined 
purpose: The leading citizens heard my lecture with earnest 
attention, and promised co-operation, but I fear, with a few 
exceptions, they have the impression that common schools are 
mainly for charity schools and must, from necessity, be of 
inferior grade. 

l^ear the farm of Col. Green, five miles east of Hunts- 
ville, there is a very flourishing colored school, which seems to 
be doing well. They want to get aid from the Peabody Fund 
to enlarge their faculty. 

AVhile at Marshall and Jefferson I was too hoarse to lec- 
ture, and too lame to walk much, yet I gave all the information 
I could. The leading men in these towns are verv doubtful 
of any good results from common schools. 

The citizens of Marshall would be glad to have one of the 
State Xormal Schools located there, and will turn over to the 
State a comomdious building for that purpose. 

Dr. Kufus C. Burlesox. 343 

At Calvert and in Robertson County I found things very 
much mixed. At Bremond and a few other places common 
schools had done well. Prof. C. E. Stephen is one of the best 
County Superintendents I have met, and if he could spare the 
time to give common schools the requisite attention he would 
make them succeed. 

At Calvert my lecture was well received by a majority of 
the leading citizens, but I met open hostility from Dr. Mood, 
President of the Methodist University at Georgetown. I 
invited him and a number of the leading Methodist educators 
and preachers, who were in Calvert holding an educational 
convention, to hear me, hoping that they might be influenced 
to give me some aid in my arduous mission, and from courtesy 
I invited members of the convention to take part in the dis- 
cussion. Whereupon Dr. Mood, in an inflammatory address, 
appealed to the old prejudices of the South, and entered his 
protest against anything and everything originating in Xew 
England or the monarchies of the Old World. He especially 
objected to my position that the State had the right to tax the 
people of the country to educate the children of the improvi- 
dent and the poor. Several of his brethren joined heartily in 
with him. 

I fear all the preachers and teachers of that church with 
any personal connection or interest in their church schools 
will throw every obstacle in the way of common schools. 

My visit to Waxahachie confirmed me in this impression. 
My old friend, Dr. Pugh, President of Marion College, 
declined to give notice of my appointment to lecture, and he 
and his friends seemed to do all in their power to prevent the 
masses from hearing me on common schools. Nevertheless, I 
received a patient hearing from all the leading men in the 
communitv not immediately connected with the Methodist 
College. I endeavored to show the congregation that common 
schools would be an assistance and not hostile to all real 
colleges and ministers. 

At Ennis and Lancaster I found a better spirit and was 
cordially received. 

At Mt. Calm and Spring Hill, in Limestone County, 
the people had failed to do anything and were wellnigh in 
despair. After hearing me fully on all the difficulties, and the 

344: The Life axd Writings of 

best means of removing them, they resolved to make one more 
earnest effort. 

Dresden, in Xavaro County, is more hopeful, and will 
organize vigorously, and apply for aid from the Peabody 
Fund. If they can avoid sectarianism they can succeed, and 
will deserve assistance. 

Collin County is in a better condition than any county in 
the State. Col. Alexander was a noble Superintendent, and 
his removal to California is a calamity to universal education 
in Texas. Col. Rogers, his successor, pledges himself to do 
all he can in support of my efforts. I was cordially received 
and heard at McKinney and in every part of Collin County. 

I was delighted to find in the Rev. Mr. Park, of McKin- 
ney, a professor in the Methodist Male and Female Institute, 
a warm supporter of common schools. He was conected with 
common schools nine years in St. Louis, Mo. If the arrange- 
ment can be made, he is anxious to turn over the building and 
furniture of his school to the State, and make it a graded 
school for Collin County. Grayson County has done some- 
thing, but is far below Collin County in the number and 
especially the efficiency of her schools. 

Denison is all alone with reference to common schools 
and education. Thev have commenced a school house, to 
cost $30,000, which amount is to be raised by the sale of city 
bonds. I found the schools all full and organized, but sadly 
in need of room and school furniture. 

All of which is respectfully submitted, 

State Lecturer on Common Schools in Texas. 
Waco, July 21st, 1874. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 345 


Address of Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, Chairman, Before 
the Board of Trustees of the Peabody Education 
Fund Appropriation of the Fund to Texas in 1877 
Differences Regarding Appointment of Superintend- 
ents of Peabody Schools Dr. R. C. Burleson's Let- 
ter on the Subject Annual Report of Dr. B. Sears 
for 1877 Dr. Burleson Charged "With Sectarian 
Bias Vigorous Denial More of the Pioneers of 
Texas Joint Canvass of the State by Drs. Sears 
and Burleson. 


1ST THE address of Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, chair- 
man of the Board of Trustees of the Peabody Edu- 
cation Fund, at the fifteenth meeting of the Board, 
held in New York, October 3d, 1877, he says: "The one 
thing needful for these States, under the changed social con- 
ditions resulting from the war, was an enlightened public 
opinion on the subject of education, and a deeper impression 
of the essential importance of free schools for their whole 
population under regulations of their own establishment, 
together with examples of schools of the highest character, 
and Normal schools for the training of teachers. I think it 
will abundantly appear from the reports that such have been 
established, and that such a public opinion has been created in 
many of the States, if not quite in all. 

The visit of Dr. Sears to Texas during the last winter, 
agreeably to the instructions of the Board, was welcomed in 
many parts of that great State, and there is every reason for 

346 The Life ajsd Writings of 

hoping that the interest which it awakened will not be without 
important results." 

In 1877 Texas received $10,800 from the Peabody Fund, 
which, added to the annual sums previously donated, was 
$18,600. This amount was paid to incorporated cities which 
complied with the requirements of the Board. 

It seems that some misunderstanding arose during this 
period on the part of cities which were the beneficiaries of the 
Fund regarding the selection of principals of such schools. 
The only stipulation exacted by Dr. Sears was the Superin- 
tendent-; elected by such cities must be fuly competent to 
undertake the management, and he went no farther than to 
recommend such persons to fill vacancies. Dr. Burleson was 
the intermediary in such cases, and he thus became an object 
of attack. In only one instance, to the San Antonio Herald, 
does he make any effort to correct the erroneous charge. That 
journal on one occasion said: 

"It is generally understood that unless Dr. Burleson, 
Peabody agent, has the appointment of Superintendents, the 
$2,000 that the San Antonio schools are entitled to will be 
withheld. Also that Dr. Burleson has his eye on an eminent 
Baptist minister to take Prof. Plagge's shoes. Some of the 
Aldermen feel like telling Dr. Burleson to take your little 
$2,000 and depart out of our coasts." 

Dr. Burleson answered this charge of sectarian bias in 
vigorous terms, as follows: 

"There is not a shadow of truth in the insinuation that I 
have my eye on an eminent Baptist minister to take my friend. 
Prof. Plagge's, shoes. Prof. H. H. Smith, of Houston, and 
Prof. Rightstell, of Arkansas, are the only men I ever had 
'my eye upon' for Superintendent in San Antonio, and 
neither of whom is even a Baptist, much less 'an eminent 
minister.' But I soon learned neither could be spared from 
his present position. I received a letter from Judge Divine 
and other eminent citizens of San Antonio urging the claims 
of Prof. J. R. Griffin, and I informed his Honor, Mayor 
French, I would endorse him if elected by the city authorities. 

"Second. It is equally untrue that 'unless Mr. Burleson 
has the appointment of Superintendent, the $2,000 will be 
withheld.' The appointment is left with the Mayor and 

Dr. Rtjfus C. Burlesox. 34? 

Aldermen. But the Peabody Fund is 'a premium fund/ as 
your correspondent says, and we, as agents, must decide what 
schools are entitled to the 'premium.' We always withhold it 
from any school that is conducted in the interests of any sect 
or party, in religion or irreligion, or any clique or favorite, or 
upon any principle except 'the greatest good to the greatest 
number/ or 'education for the people and from the people 
and by the people.' If cities or communities want to conduct 
their schools on any other principles, they are not worthy of 
the 'premium' offered by the Peabody Fund, and will never 
receive it. But it gives me great pleasure to know that the 
noble Mayor of San Antonio and the noble Mayor of Houston 
are struggling to make their schools a grand success, and we 
are glad to aid them to our utmost ability in giving them each 

"Third. It seems hard for men to learn that 'eternal 
separation of church and State' is a cardinal doctrine of all 
true Baptists. Our Peter Waldo, and John Bingam, and 
Roger Williams, and the thousands unknown to fame, have 
suffered and died for the principle during the last 500 years. 
If I should pay or reward men for being Baptists I would 
not only apostatize from the faith of Baptists, but aid in fill- 
ing the church with hirelings and hypocrites and the State with 
indifferent officers. r 'Give unto Caesar the things that are 
Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's/ 'My kingdom 
is not of this world/ are the grand doctrines of Baptists in all 
ages. And that we have acted on this great principle is evi- 
dent from two well-known facts. First, though Dr. Barnas 
Sears, Prof. O. X. Hollingsworth and I are all strict Baptists, 
and have had the sole management of the Peabody Fund in 
Texas, there is no Baptist Superintendent of any Peabody 
School in Texas. Second. Last year year Dr. II. Clarke, a 
Baptist of thirty years' standing, was an earnest applicant for 
Superintendent of Public Schools in Houston, yet Dr. Sears 
and I used all our influence for Prof. H. H. Smith, an Episco- 
palian, and his brilliant success demonstrates the wisdom of 
our choice, as well as our impartiality. 

"I would not waste my time nor your valuable space in 
these corrections, but in lecturing in 116 counties in Texas I 
have ui'2;ed, as the thousands will remember, all denominations 

34S The Life axd TVeitixgs of 

and parties Baptists, ACethodists, Presbyterians, Episcopa- 
lians, Catholics and Jews, Democrats and Republicans to all 
unite on one common platform, and make our common free 
schools a glorious success and an inestimable blessing to all 
Texas. And if ever I go back on these declarations and the 
creed of my venerable church, 'the eternal separation of 
church and State,' 'let my right hand forget her cunning and 
my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.' 

Of course, I do not question the truth of what the San 
Antonio correspondent (of the Galveston Xews) says in regard 
to what is believed in San Antonio. 

'T wish it to be understood at once and forever that all 
such surmisings are groundless as to myself; and I wish it 
also understood that I am a warm personal friend of Prof. 
Plagge, and all I have done is from a sincere desire to see your 
beautiful city the banner free school city of Western Texas." 


The honest effort to secure efficiency in the endowed 
schools was enhanced by a desire to use such schools as exam- 
ples to encourage the adoption of the free school system. The 
plan worked successfully, and the high standing acquired by 
these few institutions of learning induced a general adoption 
of the system. 

There never was a trust more carefully or judiciously 
handled than the Peabody Education Fund, and the men 
entrusted with its management were ever prompt and active 
in the discharge of their duties in accordance with the wishes 
of its revered founder. 

The history of education in Texas at that time is embraced 
in the reports of Dr. Sears and Dr. Burleson, and the space 
devoted to their evidence is important in connection with the 
active measures taken bv the Legislature in the vears which 
followed. The annual report of Dr. Sears, as General Agent, 
October, 1877, to the Board of Trustees is a valuable docu- 

"The State, from the very beginning made liberal pro- 
vision for education, and though more than $1,000,000 was 
withdrawn and used for military purposes during the war, it 
still has claims and lands sufficient, if properly husbanded, to 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 349 

educate every child in the state without resorting to taxation. 
The property held for the school fund has been estimated at 
$30,000,000. The school law of 1870 was so impracticable 
that it was abandoned, and a new one was passed and approved 
April 24th, 1871, and on the 4th of September of the same 
year public free schools were opened for the first time in 
Texas, as we have already observed. They were put in opera- 
tion in the midst of great opposition, and had a very active 
but short life during a period of fierce party strife. The 
number of pupils in 1871 was 63,504, and the expenditures 
were $50,000. In 1872 the former were 115,000 out of 227,- 
615, and the latter $1,342,794. 

''The originators of the system accelerated their move- 
ments by relying more on the authority of law than on the 
slow process of persuasion. If they did not go too far, they 
at least traveled too fast. As they appeared to have little con- 
fidence in the people, the people at length showed in turn that 
they had little confidence in them. The one party wielded 
the law to overcome public sentiment ; the other wielded public 
sentiment to overthrow the law. 

"Complaints were made on both sides. On the one, it 
was alleged that there was unreasonable opposition; on the 
other, that there was an utter recklessness and extravagance 
in the expenditure of the public money. The opposition at 
length prevailed, and in 1873 the school law was so changed 
that hardly a vestige of its former character remained. A 
marked difference of opinion still continued, some asserting 
that the public schools were virtually abolished; others that 
the schools were preserved, and only the power to squander 
money was abolished. The immediate effect was undoubt- 
edly adverse to the schools; but what was lost in 1873 was 
regained in 1874, when the attendance (including an esti- 
mate of the counties that did not report) rose to about 161,- 
670, and the amount paid to teachers to $499,930. In 1875 
the attendance was 184,705, and the salaries of teachers 
$630,334; and the total expenditure for schools and public 
school officers $723,052. The present law is certainly very 
defective, but with a few alterations, such as would probably 
meet with no great opposition, it might be made to operate 
tolerably well. The executive power is not now vested in a 

350 The Life axd Writings of 

State Superintendent, but in a Board of Education, consisting 
of State officers, assisted by a clerk. But men who are 
already burdened by other public duties will do little beyond 
giving a formal and hurried attention to schools. The clerk, 
with no official position, and with a small salary, cannot be 
expected to perform other than clerical services. This mis- 
take, which was unfortunately made in the new Constitution, 
may be corrected by making the clerk also the chief executive 
officer, under the Board of Education, and by giving him a 
corresponding .support. 

"Another serious impediment to the schools is the restric- 
tion of the tax to such narrow limits, except in incorporated 
cities, that such schools cannot be continued sufficiently long 
to be of much value. The remedy for this lies in the future. 
So ample is the provision for a prominent school fund that, 
if what is due to it from the State shall be paid, and if the 
public lands set apart for the purposes of education shall be 
advantageously disposed of, instead of being sacrificed to pri- 
vate interests and sold for a nominal amount, the fund itself 
will be adequate to the support of all the schools. 

"In the present attitude of affairs, we can effect nothing 
in the country districts. But in the cities, which, by their 
charters, can levy a local tax within certain limits, we have 
ample scope. Perhaps it will be expedient under any circum- 
stances to direct our chief attention at first to the cities. Xot 
only can we accomplish more there, and obtain a powerful 
moral support for the system, but can effectually do what is 
most of all needed present, for imitation, to all parts of the 
State examples of the most perfect organization and manage- 
ment of public schools. It should not be forgotten that in this 
new and distant State there is great want of knowledge on 
this subject. Except with a few teachers educated in Xormal 
schools in the Xorthwestern States, there is a prevailing igno- 
rance of the progress made in recent times in the processes of 
education. Xow if in the large cities which have never had 
free schools the best forms of organization and the best meth- 
ods of instruction can be introduced, the whole State will look 
to them as models; and, besides, a good supply of young teach- 
ers will be furnished, who will carry their newly acquired 
skill to all the remoter districts. Something more is needed 

Dr. Rufus C. Burlesox. 351 

than the multiplication of such schools as now exist in the 
greater part of the State. 

"In all the arrangements recently made with the cities 
of Texas this object has been kept distinctly in view. Assist- 
ance has been promised on condition that the schools of each 
city shall be put in charge of a superintendent who has had a 
professional training and experience, and who shall be able to 
train the existing corps of teachers by weekly instructions, as 
well as to superintend the schools and direct the teachers in 
their daily work. Until Xormal schools shall be established, 
this kind of training in the cities, and teachers' institutes in all 
parts of the State, will be indispensable. Otherwise, the pub- 
lic schools will be but a farce. I need not say that these con- 
clusions are drawn from personal observation. The contrast 
between two or three cities which have already adopted the 
improved methods and those that tread in the old Texan 
paths is almost incredible. 

"I spent a part of the winter (1876) in Texas, visiting the 
principal cities as far south as Galveston and Austin. I was 
accompanied by our excellent agent, Rev. Dr. Burleson, who, 
as a pioneer in education, mad crossed every river and every 
prairie from the Gulf of Mexico to the Red River and from 
the Sabine to the Rio Grande.' He had made the necessary 
arrangements for public meetings in all the places we visited, 
and the assemblies which we addressed were sometimes very 
large. While in one or two places great indifference was 
manifested, there was generally an interest awakened in edu- 
cation bordering upon enthusiasm. !N"o one can visit this 
State and notice the change which has taken place within the 
last ten years without being deeply impressed with its speedy 
future greatness. While Middle Texas is growing rapidly, 
the tide of population is continually setting westward, new 
counties being organized, and new court houses, school houses 
and churches being built. This circumstance not only illus- 
trates the growth of the State, but shows the character of its 
new citizens, which is very different from that of many of the 
earlier settlers. It is estimated that not less than 150,000 
persons from abroad enter Texas every year. Among these 
are manv families of wealth and refinement." 

352 The Life and Writings of 

This report of Dr. Sears has, for obvious reasons, been 
given in full. It contains a series of facts and criticisms based 
upon disinterested opinions derived from personal observa- 
tions during his sojourn in Texas. His conclusions upon the 
whole are fair and altogether true, except in regard to the 
earlier settlers of Texas, who should not be disparaged in 
favor of the emigrants who have made Texas their home since 
the Civil War. The latter may be in every respect worthy of 
his encomiums, but it can be proven that the people with 
whom they are compared were exceptionally superior as a 
whole to the masses who have assisted in developing the State. 
As pioneers they laid the foundation of the structure which 
the others have since aided in building. In hewing out the 
wilderness they furnished the material which a later civiliza- 
tion utilized in their work. They "blazed" the road to the 
Capitol of Texas, to the university and to her public free 
school system. 

These sturdy pioneers, with records of daring and unpar- 
alleled heroism, fought for the provision they made for the 
present school system of Texas, as well as almost every other 
public blessing enjoyed. They walked and fought their way 
to the site of the present splendid State Capitol building, and 
made the generations who were to come after them a present 
of it; while those who come into the State now to admire 
it ride in undisturbed ease and comfort on palace cars. 


Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 353 


Progress of Public Education in Texas Application of 
the Peabody Fund Aid to City Schools Dr. Bur- 
leson's Report as State Lecturer Dr. Sears' Re- 
port as General Agent for 1S78 Dr. Burleson's 
Great Interest in Education in Texas Offers His 
Services to Dr. Sears Without Compensation Offer 


R. SEARS, in his great solicitude for the success of the 
campaign he and Dr. Burleson had been making in 
Texas, was anxious to hear often from those in 
authority, and to draw out expressions from them as to the 
conditions. He addressed them by letter frequently. His 
conversance with the progress made and trend of educational 
affairs in the State, situated 2,000 miles away, was nothing less 
than marvelous. He represented a great fund, but realized 
that it was not inexhaustible. He was not only careful in the 
application of every dollar, but was careful in making appoint- 
ments. He relied on Dr. Burleson's judgment and sought his 
views on all matters. He was fully aware of Dr. Burleson's 
energetic interest in education in its broadest sense, and the 
tremendous amount of work he was doing, and on May 18th, 
1877, he addressed him a word of caution : 

"Have you at last found out that you are not altogether 
made of iron? You know my doctrine, that is is our duty to 
be in good health if possible. I am very glad to learn that our 
tour was not in vain. "We certainly did what we could to set 
the subject of education in its true light before the people. I 
shall probably never make another such tour. But if we can 
carry Texas for a good system of schools, it will be a great 


354 The Life and Writings of 

thing." Again, June 4, 1877, he says (after alluding to cer- 
tain differences with certain cities in connection with recom- 
mendation of teachers) : "Now, I wish, you, who know all my 
views, would adjust these matters. I shall undoubtedly con- 
firm all your doings. I enclose a check for $700.00 You 
must not pay too much money out of your own pocket. Est 
modus in rebus." On July 3, 1877, he writes : "I think I 
could pay no Texan who is on the ground over $1,500. Ought 
any such one to be put above you and Mr. Hollingsworth in 
this respect?- I think not." September 4, 1877, he says: "I 
have no doubt that some one should look after legislation to 
secure its favorable action. I shall recommend at our 
Trustees' meeting, at New York, October 3, the con- 
tinuance of your agency another year, and then you can 
do what is necessary in this line. As old soldiers, wo 
shall not be discouraged by a few reverses. We are in for the 
war and mean to 'fight it out on this line.' The next term of 
the Normal College begins in Nashville on the first Wednes- 
day in October. Let the candidates go with your recommen- 
dation to President Eben S. Stearns, who will tell them what 
to do, and will give them all needful aid." November 14, 
1877, he writes: "I know no other way than to continue 
your agency half the year, hoping something will 'turn up,' 
and relying on next year's income to pay it. I will endeavor 
to make some school, and not you, wait for the pay." 

These extracts from the letters of Dr. Sears are given 
in this place for the purpose of showing the implicit confi- 
dence entertained by the Board of Trustees in Dr. Burleson's 
work on the recommendation of their general agent. It is 
perfectly evident that Dr. Sears was guided in all his acts in 
relation to the distribution of the Peabody Fund in Texas by 
Dr. Burleson's advice. It is also evident that they all held 
him in the highest esteem. 

The following is Dr. Burleson's report of his stewardship 
from April 21, 1874, to September 1, 1877, but somewhat 
abridged from the original. It is copied from Dr. Sears' 
annual report of Texas in October, 1878, in volume 2, Pro- 
ceedings of the Trustees of the Peabodv Education Fund : 

"In view of the deep interest expresed by Mr. Peabody, 
and felt by the Trustees, in this great and rapidly rising State, 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 355 

and of the want of a succinct and clear statement of the history 
of the efforts there made in behalf of education, I beg leave 
to present, in this place, the substance of our agent's report 
of his four years' service. Though it alludes to parties with- 
out much reserve, and contains so graphic a sketch of what has 
passed before his eyes, that I should be reluctant to with- 
hold it." 

"The old Texans have for forty years earnestly desired 
a system of free schools. They provided a permanent fund 
of $3,500,000 and 70,000,000 "acres of land, now valued at 
$50,000,000. But in the years 1869-73 a number of causes 
arose threatening ruin to all these plans of our early statesmen. 
Identified as I had been for nearly thirty years years with those 
men, and being one of the few of their survivors, I regarded 
it as a sacred duty to aid Governor Coke, Superintendent Hol- 
lingsworth and others in bringing order out of confusion and 
securing the ends which our fathers had in view. 

"In undertaking my agency I was met at the outset with 
the following difficulties : 1. Our territory is so vast, our 
settlements so scattered and our population so diversified that 
many think it is impossible to establish and maintain a uni- 
form system of public instruction. Of the 1,700,000 people 
scattered over our vast territory 150,000 are Germans, 15,000 
are Mexicans, 13,000 are Bohemians, 3,000 are Poles, 2,500 
are Norwegians and 100,000 are colored people. 2. The 
great mass of the Texans are from the Southern States, know- 
ing little of the value of free schools and less of the best means 
of conducting them. 3. The party placed over Texas by the 
Federal Government made free schools a grand feature of their 
plan of reconstruction, and conducted them on strictly party 
principles. In ignorance or disregard of our poverty, of the 
prejudice of the people, of the vastness of our territory and of 
the diversity of our population, they established a system that 
might have suited JSTew York or Massachusetts, but was ill 
adapted to Texas. The result was as might have been 
expected. Vast sums of money were squandered. An army 
of unpaid teachers was roaming over the country. Private 
schools were unsettled, and nothing was supplied in their place. 
There was, consequently, a collapse of the whole system of 
education. At this juncture another party came into power. 

356 The Life and Writings of 

Like all partisans, they were eager to disparage even the good 
which others had done, and often magnified their blunders in 
regard to free schools. Demagogues and the press were, as 
ever, ready to pander to the passions of the prejudiced and of 
the ignorant, and to raise the clamor, 'Away with free schools !' 
'Let every man educate his own child.' 4. All these pas- 
sions were intensified by the near prospect of a prize of $15,- 
000,000. The Republican Constitution of 1869 had restored 
to the State 8,000,000 acres of land (mostly in the older parts 
of the State),' which had been granted to the counties for edu- 
cation by the Constitutions of 1837 and 1845. Land specu- 
lators holding land scrip of the State seized upon these as State 
lands. But, as their right to locate on lands set apart for 
educational purposes was questioned, they endeavored to bring 
odium upon the whole system of free schools, in order to make 
their claims more sure. They called to their aid all the power 
and enlisted all the talent that money could procure. Two 
powerful Christian denominations had established church 
schools in every part of the State, and were, hence, opposed 
to a system of education. 

"In going among the people as agent of the Peabody 
Fund, I had to grapple with all these difficulties. Sometimes 
the opponents met me in fiery debate, and sought to arouse 
against me all the passions and prejudices of the ignorant. 
Sometimes they assailed me in an indirect way through the 
press, and used a thousand devices to prevent me from getting 
a fair hearing before the people. Nothing but my long iden- 
tity with the educational interests of Texas, and the personal 
regard of the hundreds whom I had instructed, gained me an 
audience. I have canvassed all the counties from the Sabine to 
the Upper Colorado, and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Red 
River. This embraces all the older and thickly settled coun- 
ties. I have conferred personally or by letter with all the 
Mayors of towns and cities and with all our leading politicians 
and educators. I have utilized the principal journals of the 
State, and have secured the publication of short articles, and 
sometimes a series of articles, setting forth the importance of 
free schools, and disabusing the public mind of prejudices 
caused by former failures. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 357 

The following ends have been attained : 1. The 8,000,- 
000 acres of land have been rescued and saved for the schools. 

2. Every leading journal and politician of both parties have 
declared themselves in favor of public schools in some form. 

3. One of the two denominations named above has become 
convinced of the impossibility of meeting the wants of all the 
people by means of church schools. The other has undergone 
no change. What is now most needed is an improved school 
law and more decided interest and action by the people." Dr. 
Burleson's report, which follows, is copied from the original 
document : 

"The last legislature appropriated one-fourth of the entire 
revenues of the State, about $1,000,000 annually for the sup- 
port of free schools. Though much has been done, a great deal 
more remains to be clone. "We have carried a majority of the 
people, and especially all the better classes for our cause, yet 
there is a vast amount of ignorance and prejudice existing 
against public education ready to burst forth. Hence the pub- 
lic mind needs to be thoroughly enlightened and guided. We 
must have our whole school laws remodeled and to attain this, 
we need powerful agencies to arouse the people, so that they 
will send competent men to mould favorable legislation on 
education. Unless this is done the public tide now in our 
favor may react, and then it will be far more difficult to restore 
public confidence. I am constrained, therefore, to advocate, 
that i vigorous agency should be maintained in Texas until 
after the meeting of the next Legislature with the object of 
securing the remodeling of our school laws. 

I have been thinking that it would be impossible for me to 
continue my exertions as your agent for the Peabody Fund 
owing partly to the injury to my health from the arduous 
toils of traveling and of public speaking during the past win- 
ter. Besides other interests loudly call for my labors and I 
would gladly be released. But with the facts before you, and 
from your own observations you can comprehend the situa- 
tion and if you can find no one to take my place I will continue 
at everv sacrifice. 

State Lecturer and Agent for the Peabody Fund. 

Waco, Texas, September 1, 1877. 

358 The Life and Writings of 

Dr. Sears was so much pleased with this comprehensive 
report that he embodied it in his annual report. It was evi- 
dently the first official report that he ever received from Dr. 
Burleson relative to his work in Texas. 

In the proceedings of the Trustees which gives Dr. Bur- 
leson's last report, Dr. Sears adds in connection therewith : 

"The Secretary of the Board of Education (of Texas) in 
a letter dated July 1, 1878, referring to our aid, says: "The 
effect upon public sentiment produced by the schools at Deni- 
son, San Antonio, Brenham, Houston, and New Braunfels, is 
very marked and encouraging to the friends of popular edu- 
cation in this State." Our Agent, Dr. Burleson, writes Au- 
gust 20, 1878 : "Our brilliant success in Houston, Brenham, 
Denison (and I may add with some modification, San An- 
tonio), has been worth $20,000 to Texas." 

The plan described in my last report of recommending 
to the cities aided by the fund experienced and skillful super- 
intendents, to organize graded schools and to select and train 
teachers, was fully tried in Houston, with results which have 
not only gratified but astonished both the city government 
and the people. A few such experiments will clear away all 
doubts as to the value of public schools. There can be no ques- 
tion that this is the surest and quickest way to remove preju- 
dice on the subject, where it exists." 

The Secretary of the Board of Education, writing July 
30, 1878, after saying that the reports giving the statistics of 
the schools the present year have not yet been received, adds : 
''Under our present law, our schools have prospered as they 
never did before. The system has taken such deep root in the 
popular mind that no fears need now be entertained for the 

"There will be so many cities applying for aid from the 
Peabody Eund that it will be impossible for me to make a 
satisfactory selection." "It will take at least $25,000 to sup- 
ply the calls that will be made." "I am clearly of the opinion 
that the Trustees would best advance the interests of popular 
education in this State, if, instead of aiding a few cities, they 
would appropriate $10,000 for the support of a good Normal 
School. I am confident that the State would liberally co- 
operate with them in such a work." 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 359 

Dr. Sears writes to Dr. Burleson July 14, 1878, "The 
prospects of our funds are no better, not quite so good. I 
shall be obliged to close our agency in Texas with this year. 
I did the best I could for you the current year. I wish the 
people would make you State Superintendent, or something 
equivalent to it, but I suppose no one can tell what the poli- 
ticians will do." 

September 20th, 1878, he again writes, "Your proposi- 
tion for volunteer work, without pay, will undoubtedly be 

In order to appreciate Dr. Burleson's interest in educa- 
tion in its broadest sense the above oifer of gratuitous service 
must not be forgotten. It not only shows his love for educa- 
tion in general, but it shows his wisdom at the same time. 
College Presidents and Principals of private schools all over 
Texas were crying "away with free schools, they will absorb 
our patronage, and thus destroy our institutions." 

Dr. Burleson argued, with the University worthy of 
existence this would not be the case. That a system of public 
education among the masses would stimulate the desire for 
high scholarship, and that the common schools would act as 
feeders to these Universities. After thirty years' experience, 
this has been demonstrated to be the result. 

He therefore stands out as perhaps the only example in 
history, of the President of a denominational University, can- 
vassing, without pay to induce the people to adopt a system of 
free education, and when it was adopted, he rendered valuable 
and active service in perfecting it. 

360 The Life and Writings of 


A Brief Review of the Administrations of Governors 
Coke and Hubbard, with Reference to Education 
Governor Roberts' First Administration State 
Teachers' Convention at Austin Dr. Sears' Proposi- 
tion for a Formal Institute Dr. Burleson's Letter 
to Governor Roberts on Free Schools The Public 
on Governor Roberts, and Dr. Burleson Because of 
the Veto Dr. Burleson's Reply to a Newspaper 
Attack, on His Letter to Governor Roberts. 

In DER the administration of Governors Coke and Hub-, 
S5fi bard embracing a period of five years, wonderful im- 
==2J provement was manifested in all the departments 
and functions of the State government, and a good foundation 
laid for continuous development. Under their influence a 
splendid prosperity dawned upon the country, and the people 
of the State were inspired with general gratification at the 
restoration of good government finally established. 

During Governor Coke's administration the Legislature 
adopted a resolution November 1st, 1876, accepting the pro- 
visions of the Federal grant for the creation of the Agricul- 
tural and Mechanical College, and they also made especial pro- 
visions for this institution. The Federal grant was a permanent 
endowment of $209,000 from the proceeds of the Federal land 
grant which produces an annual interest of $14,280.00. 
Brazos county voted a donation of land valued at $18,000.00 
to secure the location of the College at Bryan. 

The constitution of 1876 made the college a branch of 
the State University. The first Board of Directors met July 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 361 

26th, 1875, and it was formally opened for the reception of 
students October 4th, 1876. 

On January 21st, 1879, O. 11. Roberts was inaugurated 
Governor of Texas. Two of the requirements in the Demo- 
cratic platform stipulated that the annual expenses of the 
State government must not exceed the annual income; and 
that a system of public free schools must be maintained. Before 
the meeting of the Legislature as we have seen, the Governor 
invoked the aid of Dr. Burleson, and the teachers to improve 
the school law. This forsight resulted in great improvements 
in the schools, as well as reducing the expenses of them 
through the adoption of the measures recommended by the 

Dr. Sears, General Financial Agent of the Peabody 
Fund, who was present, acted with the committee and made 
the following proposition : 

To His Excellency, 0. M. Roberts, Governor of Texas: 

Sir: I beg leave to address, and through you to the 
General Assembly of the State, the following proposition, to- 
wit: If the legislature shall see fit to establish a first class 
Normal School, and to appropriate for its expenses $6,000 per 
annum, the Trustees of the Peabody Education Fund will 
duplicate that sum for the same purpose, for a period of two 
years, with the expectation of renewing the arrangement from 
year to year after that period, during the pleasure of both, 

Your obedient servant, 

B. SEARS, General Agent. 

The governor advocated the measure in a special message, 
and a law to that effect was accordingly passed making an 
annual appropriation of $14,000. A large school building and 
surrounding grounds were donated by the citizens of Hunts- 
ville for the proposed Normal School, and it was established 
and the school opened October 10, 1879, with Professor Ber- 
nard Mallon as Principal. 

It is a living monument to the hero of Texas and was 
named in his honor, Sam Houston Normal Institute. The 
Houston Memorial Hall in the new building, is one of the 

362 The Life and Writings of 

largest and best audience halls in the State. It is ninety-eight 
feet long, seventy-one feet wide, and will seat comfortably 
1,500 people. 

In August, 1S92, Professor H. C. Pritchett resigned the 
office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to accept the 
principalship of the Institution. Under his able management 
the school has continued to prosper, and is in the highest sense 
a State school for educating and training teachers for our pub- 
lic schools. 

The following letter from Dr. Burleson to Governor 
Roberts, and published in circular form sets forth his views 
on the subject of free schools : 

Waco University, Waco, Texas, April 29, 1879. 
Governor 0. M. Boberts, Austin, Texas: 

Dear Sir : Your telegram requesting the public use of 
my letter on free schools was received yesterday at Dallas. 
You are fully authorized to use any letter of mine which you 
think will inure to the public good. I never write anything 
I am not ready to avow and defend semper et ubiqur. But as 
that letter is a mere outline or summary of conclusions reached 
in our protracted interview, it may be liable to misconstruc- 
tion; hence I send you a fuller statement of my views on this 
great subject: 

First I am profoundly concerned for our educational 
interest, and as free schools lie at the foundation of practical 
and universal education, as well as the prosperity of our col- 
leges and universities, I am their friend and advocate. The 
history, constitution and laws of Texas for forty years demand 
free schools; the highest interests of Texas, socially, politically 
and financially all demand an efficient system of public edu- 

Second But the present system of free schools is not 
what the interests and the constitution of Texas demand. It 
is a failure and a prodigal waste of at least $800,000 of the 
peoples' money; and if continued, will, in a few years, dis- 
grace the Democratic party and destroy our hopes of making 
Texas the banner State between the oceans. 

Third Some of us, at your request, have strained every 
nerve and spent days and nights of toil to remodel the system 

Dk. Rufus C. Burleson. 363 

and make it economical, efficient and a blessing to Texas. 
Such a system as your Excellency could approve, and the peo- 
ple gladly sustain. But, alas ! Many of our people, and some 
of our officials, have no higher idea of free schools than a cheap 
charity school, paid for by other peoples' money. They seem 
not to know that the only system of Free Schools a State can 
sustain in law or justice, must have these four essential ele- 
ments. 1. Thorough combination or association. 2. Rigid 
economy. 3. Strict supervision. 4. Great efficiency. 

Another great aim of Free Schools must be to improve 
teachers in the science and art of teaching and elevating the 
profession of teaching. All these great ends I find fully at- 
tained in the Public Schools of St. Louis, Cincinnati, Charles- 
ton, Richmond, Philadelphia, Newark, JSTew York and 

But who will dare claim that a single one is attained in 
our system? Our system has no combination, no adaptation, 
no- economy, no supervision, and consequently no efficiency; 
and instead of elevating the character and profession of teach- 
ing, is drawing from the State and profession our best teachers, 
and raising up an army of "pedagoging tramps," as numerous 
and as hungry as the locusts of Egypt. Our people do not 
comprehend what that great and good man, Dr. B. Sears, who 
traveled 1,000 miles to help us renovate our system, said : 
"Have good Pree Schools or none. Poor Free Schools destroy 
private schools and supply nothing in their place." 

I feel personally sensitive in the failure of our Free 
School system. For on the accession of the Democrats to 
power by the election of our friend, Governor Coke, I found 
the people chafing and maddened under the Davis-DeGress 
system, and ready to proclaim an elimination of the whole 
system as an off-shoot of radical misrule. 

Wishing to remove such false views and utilize the grand 
fund which our hero founders and fathers had provided for 
the youth of Texas, I consented to leave my home and my life 
work in Waco University. I pled for Free Schools in the 
county seats, and in the Colleges and Universities of over 100 
counties in Texas. I everywhere pledged the people that the 
party in power would remodel the whole system and so adapt 

364 The Life akd "Writings of 

it to Texas, as to make it a blessing to the 360,000 children of 
Texas within the scholastic age. 

But these pledges have not been redeemed, yet I never 
despair of the Republic or any good cause. Rome was not 
built in a day, nor have our majestic live oaks grown up like 
Jonah's gourd in a night. It took centuries to develop their 
giant girth. We must, with God-like patience, learn to labor 
and to wait. 

But I utterly despair of any legislative body in Texas, 
in the next twenty-five years, giving us just the school system 
adapted to our diversified wants. 

This work can only be done by selecting a committee of at 
least three of our greatest practical educators, three of our most 
eminent jurists, three of our most eminent bankers or finan- 
ciers, and give them time and power to remodel the whole 
system from turret to foundation stone; give them means to 
procure books and school reports, and visit, if need be, the most 
successful free schools in the United States, especially the 
West, where the sparseness and diversity of population is sim- 
ilar to ours. 

Such a committee, if wisely selected can, with one-tenth 
of the State revenue, and with provision for local taxation, 
inaugurate a system of free schools adapted to Texas, and 
capable of enlargement as our population becomes denser. 

Such a system in five years will be the pride of all Texas 
and repay the expenses of such a committee even in the item 
of immigration. 

Neither the present, nor the Davis-DeGress system, is so 
well adapted to Texas as the old system prior to 1861. 

That was wholly inexpensive and did educate every 
orphan and every indigent child in a good private school ten 
months in the year. Yet our present wants demand some- 
thing more than that system. But what to do in the present 
attitude of affairs is the vexed problem. 

If you veto the present school appropriation bill a wild 
clamor will be raised against you, and the "Democratic party. 
And besides, it would be a real public calamity to withdraw 
all aid from such cities as Denison, Brenham, Houston, San 
Antonio and others, where the free schools by local legislation 
have become the blessing and pride of the people. But still 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 365 

the stern old maxim confronts us, that "It is a robbery and 
fraud to tax a man and take away his money for any other 
purpose than the public good." 

No man can defend public schools sustained by taxation 
except on the ground that they increase the virtue and intelli- 
gence of the people, and thereby give greater security to life, 
liberty and the pursuits of happiness, and that it is cheaper to 
build school houses to restrain crime than it is to build jails 
and gallows for criminals. I advocated free schools solely as 
a police force to prevent crime and thus protect the lives, ' 
property and liberties of the people. And I hold it evident, 
that the history of Germany, France, England and America 
demonstrates the great fact, that the schools, if properly con- 
ducted, afford a cheaper and safer protection against crime 
than sheriffs, standing armies, jails, and penitentiaries. 

The State has no right to tax one man to bestow a charity 
on another man's child, nor to waste it on a doubtful scheme. 
But the State has "a divine right" to tax every man to so 
educate the rising generation to insure every man's property, 
person and liberties, to protect them more securely. This is 
old-fashioned democracy as taught by Jefferson himself. But 
the sentimental cant about "the State owing to every child 
an education" savors of agrarianism and would plunge this 
nation into the vortex of communism in twenty-five years. 
And it is high time to eliminate from government all these 
dangerous tendencies. 

The logical question then remains, does the $100,000 
expended annually on our free schools so educate the rising 
generation as to protect the life, liberty and property of the 
taxpayer? . 

It is confessed on all hands, that three-fourths to nine- 
tenths are wasted on a defective system. Then it ought on 
every principle of logic and good government to cease. It 
may not be good "party policy" to veto the bill. It may be 
dangerous to arouse the prejudices of the three great classes : 
First. The demagogue; second, the unthinking, and lastly, 
the sincere but mistaken advocates of Free Schools. But in a 
public life of nearly forty years I have found it safe to ask 
but one question : Is it right ? And then do right and leave 
the consequences to God. 

366 The Life and Writings of 

Trusting you will be able to do all that will promote the 
good of the State we love so well and have served so long. 
I am, as ever, yours truly, 


A great amount of undoubted proof is in existence that 
the closest relationship existed between Governor Roberts and 
Dr. Burleson, and that they consulted freely on the subject of 
Free Schools and labored together with great earnestness for 
their betterment. 

On account of their opposition to the adoption of the 
proposed defective school law, which partially perhaps through 
Dr. Burleson's advice the Governor vetoed, both were roundlv 
abused by many persons in public life as well as numbers 
of papers. 

To one of these papers (The "Waco Telephone) he replied 
as follows : 

, Waco University, May 27, 1879. 

"In an editorial in your issue of May 20th, you pro- 
nounce my letter to Governor Roberts on Free Schools * * 
* "one of the most inconsistent documents that ever 
emenated from the pen of an intelligent, practical man." The 
article denounces my plan as "Utopian and dreamy," and 
finally prays, "God forbid that Texas should ever be forced 
to adopt the views of Dr. Burleson." All this you call "frank 
criticism." I would modestly suggest that the whole editorial 
is a medley of blunders and hasty, illogical conclusions, the 
work of a. short-sighted young man. But I will not do this, for 
I learned, probably long before the writer of the editorial in 
question was born, that hard words and strong arguments are 
two very different things. That a newspaper, in the Gem City 
of Texas, should denounce my views as inconsistent, dreamy 
and Utopian, might have mortified me greatly, but for this 
consolation : The Galveston News, the prince of Southern 
journals, and many of the finest legal and logical minds of this 
State have praised my letter highly. Others declare it the 
finest argument they ever read in favor of free schools. But 
you say : "Analyze his long letter, and what are his deduc- 
tions? Dr. Burleson is opposed to the present system of free 
schools and yet what does he offer in its stead? A Utopian 

Dr. Kufus C. Burleson. 367 

scheme, that may be practicable when Texas has five or ten 
million inhabitants. When Galveston, Houston, Austin, San 
Antonio and Waco rival his ideal cities of New York, Philadel- 
phia, Boston and St. Louis in wealth and population." 

"Now, if the writer of the above will put on a pair of 
magnifying glasses, he will see he has misconstrued my whole 
letter. Where did he learn that New York, etc., were my 
"ideal cities?" I have ever regarded them as very real and 
not at all ''ideal." I found the free schools, too, not "ideal," 
like ours, but real blessings, and the pride of all the people. 
And my plan can be inaugurated on the 1st of September next, 
and as I told Governor Roberts, in a few years, it will be the 
pride of all Texans. 

"It is true I have despaired of any legislative body devis- 
ing in the next twenty-five years, such a school law as will 
meet all the diversified wants of this Empire State. I do not 
believe this work can be done by any legislative body on the 
continent. Hence, I propose a special committee composed of 
eminent, practical teachers, jurists and financiers. I propose 
this, not because I doubt the patriotism and general intelli- 
gence of Texas legislators, for I have praised them in 100 
speeches, from San Antonio, Texas, to Tremont Temple, Bos- 
ton. No man has a higher opinion of the morality, patriotism 
and general intelligence of the last legislature than I have. 
But the wisdom of managing a fund soon to reach $30,000,- 
000; and nicely adjusting a common school system to our 
densely populated towns and sparsely settled pastoral settle- 
ments; and to our African, Bohemian, Spanish, French, Nor- 
wegian, German, Southern and Yankee population, is a her- 
culean task ; and it can never be wisely done by any legislative 
body assembled to legislate on 1,000 other pressing interests. 
Such a work, I repeat, can only be wisely and safely done by 
such a committee as I suggest. However you denounce my 
scheme as "Utopian." But the Hon. Richard Coke, who is a 
grand embodiment of common sense, integrity and statesman- 
ship has pronounced my plan as eminently practical, and just 
the thing we need. But, lest Governor Coke, Governor Rob- 
erts and myself should be deemed old fogys, I will state that 
Texas has really twice adopted this very plan. 

368 The Life and Writings of 

By an act of the legislature of Texas, February 11, 1854. 
John W. Harris, O. C. Hartly and James Willie were ap- 
pointed commissioners to prepare a code amending, revising, 
digesting, supplying and arranging the laws, civil and crimi- 
nal, of the State of Texas. 

"By an act of the legislature July 28, 187 , Messrs. Ben 
H. Bassett, C. S. West, George Clark, J. W. Ferris and S. A. 
Wilson were appointed to digest the laws, and for this great 
work $25,000 was appropriated. 

So it seems, if I am "Utopian" and a "dreamer," I have 
blundered into good company, for I propose just such com- 
missioners to revise, amend and adjust our school laws. The 
"Telephone" tries to convict me of being illogical and incon- 
sistent, because in one sentence I say : "The State has no right 
to tax one man to bestow a charity upon another man's child," 
and in the very next I say, "But the State has a divine right to 
tax every man to so educate the rising generation that every 
man's person, property and liberty will be protected more se- 
curely." If you cannot see the sound logic and true statesman- 
ship of these postulates, I would advise you to study Whately's 
logic and Wayland's political economy before you ever perpe- 
trate another "frank criticism." If you contend that the State 
has a right to tax one man to bestow a charity on another man's 
child, you yield the whole controversy to the Communists and 
Nihilists, and must advocate their damnable theory of dividing 
out the property of the rich among the poor. But the most 
hopeful sign I see in your whole editorial is, that you have 
betaken yourself to prayer. It is a good sign to see a news- 
paper man engaged occasionally in ''a season of prayer." But 
I predict that with a little more experience in prayer, you 
will be less dictatorial in your devotions, and will add some 
such adjunct as : "Oh God forbid (if consistent with Thy 
will) that Texas should ever be forced to adopt Dr. Burleson's 
tows." But what are my views, against which you clamor 
and invoke the interposition of Heaven? My views are the 
result of forty years' study and reading. I have studied the 
history of school systems from the days of Plato, Aristotle 
and Socrates, down through all the nations of Europe and 
every State in America. My views are not merely the result 
of my reading and reflections, but the most illustrious gov- 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 369 

ernors of Texas, for the last thirty vears, have honored me with 
their confidence and asked my views on education. I have 
made two long and expensive tours of observation to the older 
States to see the practical working of all the great free schools 
and Universities in America. The President and Professors 
of Harvard, and Brown, and Madison, and Vassar and West 
Point, and the Superintendent of Free Schools and Normal 
Institutes of all the great cities and states offered me the 
most ample means of studying profoundly the organization 
and workings of their institutions. In 1872 I spent three 
months in this work, so that my views are but the views of 
such great free school men as Dr. B. Sears, Dr. Wickercnan, 
Dr. Hovey, Professor Stoddard and others, moulded and 
adapted to Texas. My views and theirs are in perfect har- 
mony. I do not differ from them a.single iota. We all believe 
a free school system should have combination, adoption, super- 
vision, economy and efficiency. They all warned me to have 
"good schools or none," and never to waste a dollar of the 
public money, otherwise we will destroy the whole system in a 
few years. We want an efficient system of free schools, 
and we want never to waste one dollar of the peoples' 
money. In conclusion, I can only say my views and plans 
may not, after all, be correct. I claim no infallibility, but 
certainly no man has greater reason to love Texas than I have. 
My family have been identified with Texas for fifty years. 
My kindreds' blood has crimsoned every battlefield in Texas. 
My blood flows to-day in the veins of 1,200 Texas voters. I 
have given thirty-one years of unremunerated toil to Texas, 
and am sad because I have not thirty-one more to give to a 
State I love more than life. 

Yours respectfully, 


He adds: "Lest your allusion to our conversation on 
Mr. Hurst's letter may do Governor Roberts injustice, allow 
me to say that the only reasons for my belief were these : 

First Governor Roberts for the last thirty years has 
done his own writing and thinking. 

Second He is a stern old Jackson Democrat, and be- 
lieves in the doctrine pay as you go. 



The Life and "Writings of 

Third He has always contended the constitution de- 
manded an efficient system of free schools. This is not effi- 
cient, and is therefore, unconstitutional. It wastes prodigally 
the peoples' money, which I would never allow, if I had the 
power to prevent it. 


Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 371 


Texas State Educational Association Texas Teachers' 
Convention Organized at Mexia An Important 
Called Meeting at Mexia August 9th, 1879 A Con- 
vention of Teachers at Austin Dr. Burleson's 
Statement of Convention's Work The Teachers' 
Recommendations to the Legislature Committee 
Report on University of Texas, Dr. Burleson Chair- 
man Last Meeting of Texas Teachers' Convention 
Ceased to Exist Where it was Organized June 
30th, 1880 Merged into the Texas State Educa- 
tional Association Gov. O. M. Roberts Addressed 
the Meeting Organization of the T. S. E. A., July 
1st, 1880 Its Continued Success. 


T a meeting of the State Teachers' Convention held 
in Galveston in 1890, Dr. Burleson was requested 
by that body to write a history of the Texas State 
Educational Association, but there is no evidence among his 
papers that he ever commenced the work, except in fragmen- 
tary form. The following letter from Professor W. H. Cole- 
man, dated July 16th, 1890, leads to the inference that Dr. 
Burleson made an effort to collect data for the purpose : 

"I have been trying to recall to my memory the events 
connected with first meeting of the State Teachers' Associa- 
tion, and find my recollection is very dim. I can not even 
determine the year without my diary which is now in Ken- 

372 The Life and "Writings of 

"If my memory serves me correctly, the first meeting of 
the Association was held in Mexia, some time in the '70s. You 
were the first President. A Teachers' Convention was held 
the same year at Dallas, called, perhaps, the North Teachers' 
Convention. I was the only person who attended both of these 
conventions. I remember your inaugural address was quite 
lengthy and that you took severely to task the "godless in- 
fluence exerted by some of the Colleges and Universities of the 
country," which aroused the indignation of Gathright and 
Hogg and they expressed themselves quite vigorously concern- 
ing the matter. 

Another prominent event was that Governor-elect O. M. 
Roberts sent a communication, which was read, in which 
he requested the association to take action for the improvement 
of the Public School system of the State and promising his 
co-operation in regard to such measures as they might adopt. 
I think a committee was appointed to meet at Austin the fol- 
lowing winter in the interest of education. 

"Subsequently, the North Texas Teachers' Association, 
Dr. Malone, President, and the State Association, Dr. Crain, 
President, met at Mexia and consolidated." In conclusion he 
says : "I regret my inability to give you fuller data." 

With this imperfect outline to follow we shall attempt to 
fill in the "missing links," and endeavor to preserve the pro- 
ceedings of this influential body which labored so earnestly 
to improve the educational interests of the State. Their zeal- 
ous work was manifested a little later on in moulding the 
legislation which hastened the present public school system 
throughout Texas. 

The earliest proceedings at hand show that a Teachers' 
Convention was held at Mexia, August 9, 1878. Rev. R. 
C. Burleson being President, and Professor M. Park, Sec- 
retary. After a song by the church choir and prayer by the 
Rev. II. Bishop, its labors were inaugurated by an address 
from the President, which lasted an hour and twenty minutes. 
The substance of the address, and also a list of those who 
enrolled as members is badly mutilated and can not be given. 

A committee reported in favor of an address to be issued 
to the teachers of Texas, requesting them to meet in conven- 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 373 

tion at Austin on the second Tuesday after the assembling of 
the Legislature, for the purpose of organizing a State Educa- 
tional Convention, and the President appointed a committee 
of eleven to issue such an address. 

Professor Smith delivered an address upon Public Free 
Schools and their relation to Colleges and Universities, after 
other questions had been discussed. The convention tendered 
the President its thanks for his able address, and requested 
its publication. 

The following day after the usual proceedings, Professor 
Gathright spoke on a question of privilege in reply to certain 
points in the President's address, and a number of important 
subjects were discussed at length and some pertinent resolu- 
tions were passed. 

After a learned address from Dr. Crane, 'that ripe scholar, 
and hero of Texas education whose efforts in behalf of the 
cause deserve a better fate, than the ruins at Independence, 
a letter from Judge O. M. Roberts to the convention, through 
Dr. Burleson, was read in which he suggested that the associa- 
tion should take active steps towards influencing State legisla- 
tion in behalf of education. 

The following committee of eleven were appointed to 
meet in Austin: H. H. Smith, of Houston; J. T. S. Park, of 
Mexia; W. H. Coleman, of Dallas; W. F. Packard, of Mil- 
ford; C. P. Estill, of Mexia; A. J. Roberts, of Belton; Geo. 
Hogue, of Brownwood; R. C. Burleson, of Waco; J. J. James, 
of' Bryan; J. A. Craig, of Mexia; W. C. Crane, of Inde- 

The convention adjourned to meet at the Agricultural 
and Mechanical College in Brazos county, the second Tuesday 
in July, 1879. 

To unearth the truth of its proceedings at Austin, we 
must quote from an unpublished defense of Governor Roberts, 
written by Dr. Burleson, after that statesman's death, in which 
he refers to his own work as State Lecturer for the Peabody 
Fund : ''After the most painful and laborious efforts of my 
long life of toil for Texas, I was almost in despair of correcting 
the terrible abuses and saving the school lands; but Judge 
Roberts, then a candidate for Governor, came nobly to the 
front. He suggested that as President of the Association, I 

374 The Life axd Wettings of 

might call an extra session to meet in Austin during the sit- 
tings of the legislature so that the teachers and politicians 
might confer freely and wisely together and devise the best 
plan possible for the great question so universally discussed. 
I saw the profound wisdom of the suggestion. I presented the 
subject before the Texas Educational Association at Mexia, 
and a called session to meet at Austin during the session of the 
legislature was agreed upon. We so arranged to have the oldest 
and wisest educators of Texas, with a few from elsewhere and 
also the great Dr. Sears, to meet and consult with us. "We were 
invited to go before the legislature and deliver addresses on 
the great subjects dear to the hearts of all true Texans. We 
were also invited to embody our views in regard to school 
laws, which we did after hours and I may say days of intense 
toil. But alas, we found that the Constitution adopted to cor- 
rect the evils of the Davis, or radical Constitution, was so 
framed that no efficient law for Free Schools could be enacted, 
and that the only hope for correcting those evils was through 
amendments to the Constitution. The addresses of the teach- 
ers before the legislature had profoundly impressed that body 
of man that the Constitution should be so amended, but that 
would require time and it was utterly impossible to have any 
system of Free Schools until the Constitution could be re- 
modeled. Dr. Sears was the saddest man I have ever seen in 
Texas. He said, "This is my third trip to Texas, at great 
labor and expense, and yet it is an utter failure, and I shall 
die without accomplishing the last request of the great George 
Peabody, which was to use his funds freely to lay the grand 
foundation for a Texas system of Free Schools, for Mr. Pea- 
body believed, that Texas was destined to become one of the 
grandest States in the Union, and he wanted to see a splendid 
svstem of Free Schools established here." After he and I had 
discussed the matter until midnight, I suggested that there 
never was a grand thing to be done, but what there was at 
least seven ways to do it, and that there was a way in which 
we could use the Peabody Fund at once in the grand work 
of establishing Free Schools in Texas. I said, if we had 
$5,000,000 in the Texas treasury to-day, we would have no 
teachers who understood the system of successfully organizing 
and conducting Free Schools. The grand thing is, if we wish 

Dr. Rufus C. Buelesox. 375 

to make Free Schools in Texas a success, we want a Normal 
College to prepare onr teachers, and if you will give us as 
much as you gave Tennessee, $25,000, our governor will 
recommend to the legislature to appropriate an equal amount 
and we will establish a Normal School and name it for our 
grand oid hero, Sam Houston, and then, by the time we get our 
Constitution changed and ready for work, we will have a 
splendid corps of teachers. The grand old man's eyes wert: 
radiant, and he said, "Bless God for the light of that sug- 
gestion;" and then asked, "Will your governor recommend 
to the legislature to appropriate $25,000? I am afraid he is 
not as much in favor of Free Schools as you think he is." 
I said, he may not be, but he is a grand old and conscientious 
judge, and the Constitution says, "It shall be the duty of the 
legislature to establish as early a,s practicable a system of Pub- 
lic Free Schools," and he will carry out his oath to support 
that Constitution to the letter, and you may be perfectly cer- 
tain that he will issue a special message to the legislature to 
appropriate at least $25,000 for a Normal College." Next 
morning, as soon ps breakfast was over, I hurried away to 
meet Governor Roberts at the governor's mansion before he 
became engaged with the politicians. I met him as he was 
leaving and I laid the plan before him. His eyes brightened 
with joy as he said, "Certainly, certainly, there is glory in that 
thought, and I will not only recommend the legislature to ap- 
propriate $25,000, but I will also recommend, that they add 
a sum sufficient to pay the board and all necessary expenses 
for a certain number of students from each county, and I will 
be glad to see Dr. Sears in person and confer with him." The 
two grand old men met together and it was a feast to hear their 
deliberations on this great question. Through the statesman- 
ship of Governor Roberts a plan was formulated which was 
intended to correct all the terrible evils which had been 
brought on our system of Free Schools, and to recover the 
county school lands from the railroads and the speculators, 
and which would lay the grandest foundation for Free 
Schools of any nation on this planet." 

The convention of teachers met in Austin January 28th, 
1879, and continued in session three davs. These teachers 
recommended : 

376 The Life and Writings of 

1. That the State accept the proposition, that $6,000 
be accepted from the Peabody Fund with as much, to be added 
by the State, to establish a first class Normal School. 

2. That $20,000 be appropriated by the State to estab- 
lish a practical course in Agriculture. 

3. That not more than two school communities be es- 
tablished in any city taking charge of its own schools, and 
that one of these be white and the other for colored children. 

4. That three grades of certificates be given to teachers. 

5. That pupils under the instructions of a teacher hold- 
ing a third grade certificate receive $1; second grade, $1.50; 
and first grade, $2 per month. 

6. That six district superintendents be appointed with a 
salary each of $2,300. 

There were other recommendations made bv the teachers 


referring to the duties of the superintendents, and to the 
manner in which teachers should be paid by the county 
treasury. The legislature complied with these suggestions in 
all their essential features. We have every reason for believ- 
ing that it was a wise suggestion which brought the Teachers' 
Convention together as an advisory board and that they ac- 
complished a great deal of good in suggesting legislation on 
the subject of education which eradicated existing evils and 
provided future benefits. 

All of the proceedings of the Teachers' Convention are 
not available, but it is presumed that the following report of 
a committee submitted to the Teachers' Convention in Jan- 
uary, 1879, relative to the University of Texas was adopted. 
"Your committee believe the time has came to take measures 
to inaugurate the Texas State University. Texans have felt 
for forty years, a deep interest in this question, and that desire 
was never more intense than at this moment. 

The Constitution of the Kepublic requires a first class 
University. The Congress of 1836, set apart fifty leagues 
(221,400 acres) of land for two colleges or Universities. The 
present value of this land is $3.50 per acre, or $777,760. Of 
this sum $222,125 is now in the state treasury drawing inter- 
est, and nearly $40,000 is ready for investment. 

All of this $262,000 could be used at once to inaugurate 
"The Texas State University." The legislature of 1876 set 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 377 

apart 1,000,000 acres of land additional, and also set apart 
every tenth section of land surveyed by railroads for school 
purposes for "The Texas State University." This whole fund 
is at least $1,500,000. The annual interest at 8 per cent, will 
be $120,000. The same Constitution made the "Agricultural 
and Mechanical College, a branch of the University, for in- 
struction in agriculture and mechanical arts, and natural 
sciences conducted therewith." Over 300 young men are sent 
out of Texas annually, thus losing to Texas $250,000,- besides 
the loss of that State pride and affection so necessary for the 
future, glory and greatness of Texas. The State, to attain to 
the highest greatness and glory, must be controlled and guided 
by sons ''to the manor educated," as well as to "the manor 

But how shall we organize our State University so as to 
combine the greatest economy, the greatest harmony and the 
greatest efficiency? It is a melancholy but well established 
fact, that the majority of State Universities, have proved sad 
and expensive failures. Texas cannot afford to waste $1,500,- 
000, and sacrifice the previous and undying interests of her 
sons in following the unsuccessful methods of other States. 
But fortunately the State of !New York and the City of Lon- 
don present us with a general outline of a plan which will 
utilize every dollar of the vast fund and make "The University 
of Texas," the pride and glory of every Texan and a rich bless- 
ing to generations to come. 

Your committee would therefore respectfully suggest, 
that the "Texas State University" be organized on the general 
plan given by the Empire State of America, and by the great- 
est city on the globe. 

First That every chartered College and University in 
the State having $100,000 in cash invested in endowments for 
professorships, and library apparatus and buildings, shall be a 
branch of the State University, provided nothing sectarian in 
religion or any skepticism shall be taught in connection with 
any of said branches. 

Second That a "Board of Regents," with a chancellor, 
eminent for learning, shall be appointed by the governor and 
confirmed by the Senate, who shall sacredly and wisely dis- 
tribute the annual interest of the University Fund to all the 

378 The Life axd Writings of 

branches of the University for the payment of professors ac- 
cording to the actual capital owned and employed by them 
in education. The chancellor and regents shall discharge such 
other duties as the Legislature may direct. 

Third There shall be erected at the capital a suitable 
building, etc. 

Fount h The chancellor and regents shall provide a 
course of lectures, etc. 

The adoption of these general outlines, with such addi- 
tions as the wisdom of the legislature may suggest, will have 
the following great advantages : 

First Its great economy. It never cost the State a 
dollar for building and supervision. 

Second It will bind all sections and all denominations 
in love and sympathy and enthusiasm for "The State Uni- 

Third It will banish from higher education and culture 
all sectarianism and skepticism. 

Fourth It will arouse the hopes and stimulate the zeal 
of all sections and denominations, so that in twenty-five years, 
Texas will have facilities for higher education, unsurpassed by 
any State in America, or the world. 

Fifth It will avoid all jealousies and wrangling of the 
sections and denominations and institutions which have ruined 
so many splendidly endowed State Universities. 

These reasons are so great and so self-evident, they must 
commend themselves to every candid man who can lift him- 
self out of the grooves and currents in which so many State 
Universities have run to ruin and failure. All of which is 
respectfully submitted." 


There is no evidence at hand to show that these sugges- 
tions met with legislative action at the time, but there is no 
doubt of its influence in hastening the establishment of the 
University or that many of the views were embodied in the 
laws regulating the institution. 

The last meeting of the State Teachers' Convention was 
held at Mexia June 30, 1880, when the following report was 
adopted : 

Dk. Rufus C. Burlesox. 370 

"The committee appointed by Dr. Crain, President of the 
Texas Teachers' Association and this association, would re- 
spectfully report that the association which met at Austin 
January, 1879, be invited to participate in the discussions of 
this convention until the program, as previously arranged, 
be carried out, and then, that this association be merged in the 
State Association and that then a new set of officers be elected 
for the ensuing year." 

R. C. BURLESON, Chairman. 

Previous to this, Rev. Win. Cary Crane, stated the object 
of the convention and Rev. R. C. Burleson made the intro- 
ductory address. His Excellency, O. M. Roberts, was present 
by special invitation and delivered an address in which he 
dwelt long on the importance to the State of a thorough system 
of public education. He represented their condition, Eis 
course towards them and the policy which the State should 
sustain. He advocated the policy of liberally supporting them 
as far as the means of the State would allow, after defraying 
other needful expenses. 

The two conventions having united, an election was held 
jointly. Dr. Anderson of Trinity University was elected 
President, Professor Hammond of Mexia, Secretary, Professor 
Park of Mexia, Treasurer, and six Vice-Presidents residing in 
different portions of the State. Dr. Oscar H. Cooper, that ac- 
complished scholar, successful educator, and learned gentle- 
man who succeeded Dr. Burleson in the Presidency of Baylor 
University, fixed himself in the educational history of Texas, 
as a wise friend of public education by strongly recommending 
in the consolidated convention, that the next legislature be 
urged to take the steps necessary to organize the University of 
Texas, which induced the passage of a ringing resolution to 
that effect. A committee of nine distinguished teachers was 
appointed by the convention, of which Dr. Cooper was made 
chairman to prepare a plan of organization. The report of Dr. 
Cooper's committee in 1881 was instrumental in the passage 
of the act introduced in the seventeenth legislature by Col. J. 
C Hutchinson of Harris county, approved March 30th, 1881, 
providing for the establishment of the University of Texas, the 
success of which has exceeded perhaps the expectations of its 
friends. This bill passed the house with only seven dissenting 

3 SO The Life and Writings of 

votes, and in the same hall where twenty years before seven 
votes har been cast against the secession ordinance. 

It is thus seen, that Baylor University having passed 
through all the successive stages of birth, growth and develop- 
ment, and having became one of the fixed educational institu- 
tions of the world, was not so selfish as to desire to occupy the 
field alone, but reached out through Dr. R. C. Burleson, its 
renowned President, who devoted his wisdom and experience 
in establishing this institution for the State. 

It will also be observed as an historical fact, no less re- 
markable, important and interesting, that Dr. Oscar H. Cooper, 
who twenty years later was to succeed Dr. Burleson in the 
Presidency of Baylor University, was his valuable co-laborer 
in this great work, and though not much more than a boy, 
divided the honor and glory with him. Dr. Burleson and Dr. 
Cooper being the only men who have ever filled the Presi- 
dential chair of the University at Waco, it may be justly 
claimed, that in a sense, among other distinctions, Baylor 
University has also the honor of being the mother of the Uni- 
versity of Texas. This is unparalleled by any known scrap of 
educational history. 

At the night session of the convention Governor Roberts 
again took the floor to develop his views, and to show his 
interest in public education. He stated in his address, the only 
reason why he had not endeavored to render greater assistance 
to public schools was because he doubted the ability of the 
State to do so without violating its duties to creditors or crip- 
pling the machinery of government. The meeting closed with 
a benediction by Dr. Burleson. 

The next day, July 1, 1880, the first meeting of the Texas 
State Teachers' Association convened. The following resolu- 
tions were adopted. To memorialize the legislature in favor 
of the State University. On change of school law. On gov- 
ernor's address. On validity of claim on treasurer for Univer- 
sity fund. On appropriation of land to chartered colleges. 

The Executive Committee announced that the next meet- 
ing would be at Corsicana. the last Tuesday in June, 1881, and 
a called meeting would be held at Austin, during the session 
of the next legislature. The meeting held at Corsicana was 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 


one of much importance, but not more so perhaps than those 
since held. 

It would be pleasant to record more detail of this conven- 
tion, but we refrain from doing so except to show Dr. Burle- 
son's active participation in the movement designed solely to 
promote the cause of public education in Texas. 

The personnel of this convention was a high standard of 
manhood. In fact these are few, if any higher callings than 
the profession of teaching; and those who are engaged in it, 
if qualified to properly discharge its duties, represent the most 
cultured class of the country's citizenship. They are the 
guides who awaken intellects, latent powers of mind, and 
direct them toward the pure light of knowledge, and only turn 
to do battle against the hosts of ignorance and indifference. 


*' ' * *,. ' 

382 The Life axd "Writings of 


Dr. R. C. Burleson's Address Before the Texas Teachers' 
Convention in Galveston June 30th, 1890 Pithy 
and Pointed Breezy and Bright "Witty and "Wise 
Learned and Logical Education, Public and Pri- 
vate The Sam Houston Formal Institute Suggested 
for the First Time Other Matters. 

fyj R. PRESIDENT, Ladies and Gentlemen, and 

_ _j Teachers of Texas: 

isssr A good man has said, "not to know what has hap- 

pened before I was born, is to remain always a child." A 
greater man has said, "History is Philosophy teaching by ex- 
ample." A great Philosopher and Theologian has said, "His- 
tory is God teaching by example." Then if we would not all 
be babes, and listen to the teachings of History, and God Him- 
self, we ought to understand History not only history 
in general, but as teachers, and leaders of thought, we 
ought to know the history of higher education in our 
State. I know there is a thought, a general impression, 
that old Texans were a wild, semi-savage people, who 
had no grand thought, no grand purpose, and that they 
did nothing, planned nothing that is worthy for us to re- 
member. That only shows that we have fallen into the second 
division; for not to know the men, the grandeur of their souls, 
the sublimity of their purpose, the wisdom of their plans not 
to know this, is to show that in thought we are children. I 
am here to show, to demonstrate that of the men who formed 
the Constitution of the old Republic of Texas, there were more 
college men, men educated in colleges, college graduates, than 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 383 

ever assembled in any similar convention on this continent. 
Not even Massachusetts excepted. I repeat it the men who 
formed the constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and 
the Constitution of the old Republic of Texas were more of 
them college men, college graduates, than ever assembled for 
any similar purpose on this continent. The man that wrote 
the Declaration of Independence and mapped out the Con- 
stitution, George C. Childress, was a graduate of the Uni- 
versity of North Carolina. That grand man who founded the 
first colony and was the Nestor, the path-finder that opened the 
way for civilization in this country, Stephen F. Austin, was a 
student of Transylvania University. Even though he prided 
himself in letting people believe, and though it was believed 
that Sam Houston himself, was a rought, wild, untutored, half- 
savage man, without any means of knowledge or means of cul- 
ture, yet the men who knew him, who knew his secret thoughts, 
knew that for three years he was intimately associated with Dr. 

Anderson, President of College, Tennessee, and at 

night after the duties of his clerkship were over, he would go 
and sit down by that grand old man, that grand thinker, who 
knew how to interpret thought, how to guide thought, and any 
man who was intimate with Houston long, in all the great pur- 
poses of life would hear him quote Dr. Anderson; and while 
he was not in the college list he had really a better college 
education than probably nine-tenths of the graduates of our 
country. Anson Jones is another, and Henry Smith, the first 
governor, a school teacher by profession, was a college grad- 

When teachers go into politics they generally make a bad 
failure, but Henry Smith, that teacher, wrote the first declara- 
tion of purposes declaring the duty of Texas to form a Repub- 
lic, and the first resolutions ever read in Brazoria county were 
written by him. 

But these men were not only educated men, but they 
planned for education. Scarcely had the smoke of battle 
cleared away from San Jacinto, scarcely had they got through 
driving the Mexicans out of Texas and scaring the red men 
from the frontier, when they assembled and resolved that 
Texas should have a grand University, and they donated fifty 
leagues (222,000 acres) of land for that purpose. They met, 

384 The Life axd Writings of 

those men, there without money enough to buy sugar to put in 
their coffee, and many of them with brogans and unblacked 
shoes on, yet they formed the plan for a grand University. 

Look at it from a denominational standpoint. Lor I lay 
down this as a grand principle that God is wise, all wise, and 
that he never expects, never intends, to achieve any great end 
that he does not select suitable agencies; and every Texan 
knows that this is to be the grandest State that the sun in his 
long journey round the globe looks down upon. 

When Jesse Mercer in 1838 said: "Texas is to be the 
grandest State on this continent and we must send men and 
women there to take and plant the standard of the cross or it 
will be like a millstone on the moral agencies of this country." 
They raised $2500 to start the mission, and that sent the mis- 
sionary here who baptized the first couple ever baptized in the 
Gulf of Mexico Gail Borden and wife, who was the niece of 
Jesse Mercer. And not only Jesse Mercer, but George Pea- 
body was interested in our great State. He said : "Dr. 
Sears, at your age I want you to canvass but one State. I 
want you to look well to the great State of Texas. Found 
well and thoroughly, a system of public free schools. I give 
it to you as my last and perchance my dying charge." Well, 
if this is to be a grand State and all know this to be its des- 
tiny, and as the good Mercer and Peabody said it would be 
would not God select grand agents to prepare it. Why, it 
would be an impeachment of the wisdom of the Almighty not 
to understand that these pathfinders of the greatest State be- 
tween the oceans were grand men. They were. Look at it. 
The Methodists, who were the pioneers of civilization every- 
where on the Western Continent, in 1837 sent Dr. Martin, 
the first D. D. it is said ever made on this continent, to Texas 
as a pathfinder, to lay the foundation of Methodism; and in 
1837, one year after the battle of San Jacinto, he came in 
the greatness of his integrity and the order of his piety, and 
the first thing he did was to write and obtain a charter for the 
college that was after his death named for him, and in that 
college he began to instruct many of the leading men of Texas. 

In the strange providence of God he died but his work 
will never, never die. Three years later a man came to Texas 
broken in health, J. B. McKenizie, who had been a circuit 

De. Rufus C. Bueleson. 385 

rider among the Choctaw Indians. He had been educated in 
one of the leading schools in Tennessee. That grand old 
leader and general, for he was a general a great many men 
are educated but not generals came to Texas, believing, as 
Mercer, 'Peabody, and all the leaders did, that it was to be a 
glorious State. He did not see much prospect, and went out 
four miles south of Clarksville and opened a little school. 
The work enlarged upon him, enlarged until it became 
McKenzie Institute, McKenzie College, and on that very spot 
between 3,000 and 4,000 young men have been instructed, 
men who have been the grand men of Methodism, the banner 
bearers of the great civilization of Texas. 

"Well the Baptists, they sent two grand men that old 
Jesse Mercer selected, William M. Tryon and James Huckins. 
They came and gathered a little feeble flock on Clear Creek. 
Of course you can't get Baptists far from where there is much 
water. In 1842 they went there with only six hundred of 
them and formed an educational society and resolved to found 
a great university. Think of six hundred men starting at this 
and having to keep the savages off. In those days preachers 
went armed, not only in Texas, but in Georgia and the other 
States. In Georgia they went with a Bible and hymn book 
in one hand, and in the other no, in their saddlebags 
something, I am ashamed to tell what it was, but instead of 
carrying that in Texas they carried in the other saddlebag a 
shot gun. Well, some of them may have been like one old 
Hardshell. They said to him : "Brother Doodlee, don't you 
believe that everything is ordained, and that it will be just 
as it is ordained ?" ''Yes." "Then, what do you always carry 
your gun for ? If your time has not come the Indians can not 
kill you." "Well," he says, "I know that is the way, that my 
time is fixed, but now, brother, what if I should be going to 
an appointment and meet an Indian and I did not have my 
gun, and his time had come; what a great pity that would be." 
So these brothers who carried shot guns for fear they might 
meet an Indian whose time had come to die, met on Clear 
Creek and resolved to found a grand university, and that re- 
sulted in the founding of Baylor University four years after- 
wards. It has gone on from 1846 to 1890 without ever slack- 


386 The Life and Writings of 

ing the traces, and in that University have been educated be- 
tween five and six thousand young men. 

Well, this is the beginning. Other denominations acted 
wisely. Dr. Daniel Baker, a worthy compeer of Huckins, 
Tryon, and McKenzie, came and said, "What is the matter 
with you Presbyterians? The Baptists have the rich lands 
where there is much water and we do think the Presbyterians 
ought to have the cities and schools." He got the charter for 
Austin College, located first at Huntsville, afterwards at 
Sherman. . He traversed not only Texas, but this continent, 
and everywhere he stirred up the sons of Calvin to act in 
founding a great University in the Empire State of the world. 
And the Episcopalians, under the leadership of my dear friend. 
Dr. Charles G. Gillette, founded their school at Anderson 
St. Paul's College. They struggled nobly, but circumstances 
of an untoward character occurred, which resulted in the fail- 
ure of their effort. But these were the early movements. I 
am talking about the early history. And the Cumberland 
Presbyterians have their schools and colleges, and a school of 
which any people, any denomination, might be proud. I have 
thus briefly given an outline of the denominational work in 
the State. I glory in the State University, and I glory in our 
Agricultural College, and our Normal School; but that 
agency upon which three-fourths, if not four-fifths of the 
youth of Texas will depend, is the denominational colleges, 
and woe be the day when there shall be a conflict, a collision 
between State institutions and denominational colleges. They 
ought to be parts of one perfect whole, and hence I have re- 
ferred to the work of the denominations in the early history 
of the education of Texas. 

As I have said the early leaders determined in 1837 to 
have a grand university and appropriated fifty leagues of land. 
In 1858 the Legislature of Texas set apart $100,000 in State 
bonds, derived from the sale of Santa Fe territory, to the Uni- 
versity fund. In 1876 the State donated 1,000,000 acres of 
land more, and to-day the lands unsold amount to 2,022,978 
acres; in State bonds $523,511; land notes $106,810, with an 
actual annual income of $47,942 a sum amply sufficient to 
educate a thousand young men and young ladies. The State 
University has been inaugurated and in active operation, and 

Dr. Rttfus C. Burleson. 387 

I rejoice to say, from announcements made by one of the offi- 
cers, that that school is to-day doing a noble work, and I wish 
it God-speed and abundant and glorious success. 

But the Agricultural College deserves notice. You are 
aware that in 1862, when the terrible battle of Bull Run, the 
terrible battles of the Confederacy were being fought, the 
United States Assembly appropriated an amount of land, I 
believe 180,000 acres to each state to found an agricultural 
college, for they found, as all educators did, that there was a 
great tendency to make education impracticable ; and while I 
never had a particle of patience with this idea of saying every- 
thing must be utilitarian in the sense it is understood, and it 
was a fearful mistake that cui bono was not written on nine- 
tents of the curriculums in use. But some went to the other 
extreme, and the agricultural colleges were a grand desider- 
atum in the educational wants of the country, and the State 
of Texas has appropriated until this institution founded near 
Bryan at College Station has $225,000; other stock, $35,000; 
permanent fund from sale of United States educational lands, 
$200,000. Thus our Agricultural College is upon a basis and 
foundation of future and glorious prosperity. 

Then there is the colored college; for whoever shall 
ignore the colored man, is not a patriot, or if so he is fearfully 
misguided. The colored man is here, was brought here in the 
wise providence of God for his good; and if we had had sense 
enough to have taken it right, and like Washington and Jef- 
ferson, accepted the fact that he was placed here for his chris- 
tianization (he is to be christianized) and christianized him, 
by that time Stanley would have discovered that immense 
country and sent them all back there, but we have defeated 
the plan. But we are to educate the colored man; we are to 
take him by the hand and help him. But I will never ask 
him to sit down at my table or to come to see my daughter; 
never in the world. I will take him by the hand, provide 
him with his college, and help to educate him. You will 
say, "that is cheap talk." I will tell you what I did. When 
in New York I went to Judge Jessup and said : "We want 
a grand college for teachers and preachers of the colored race. 
Can not you give us $25,000 to start the enterprise?" He 
sat down and figured it up, and said I, "if you will, I promise 

388 The Life and Writings of 

you before God that every true Texas Baptist will see that 
your fund is not squandered;" and after a few weeks he said: 
"Wife and I have decided to give $25,000 for founding a 
college for colored education." And that college is founded, 
and whenever I have heard of their being in trouble there 
are grand and noble men at Marshall, men who can be relied 
upon and whenever they are in trouble, I don't care what 
evils, what mistakes they make, I have seen that they got out 
of that trouble. I promised Judge Jessup and his wife that 
I would look after them. And I ask you, Mr. President, and 
every brother and sister here to educate the colored man and 
get him wise enough and good enough to go back to Africa 
and civilize that country; for there won't be room enough 
for him in this country Then we have Prairie View College, 
Fisk University, Tillotson College, and this is what we are 
doing for the colored man, and let us push on and press on. 
]STow I come to Paul Quin College at Waco. They are of a 
different denomination but educators should always work 
together and should all go the same road. I want you to come, 
and will not insist on your coming into the water. I am going 
certain, and if you want to take less water in yours, why come 
that way; but for the glory of Texas and the uplifting of 
Texas for the colored man let us stand as a glorious unit. 

When Judge Roberts was nominated for Governor he 
wrote me a letter as president of this convention (I was then 
president of the meeting at Mexia), and he said : "Will you 
call a convention of your wisest teachers? I want the wisest 
heads and the most comprehensive brains in Texas to help us 
in recommending a school law for Texas." I read his letter 
before the convention of school teachers in Mexia, and accord- 
ingly we assembled there and wrote out a report like school 
masters often do, and it sounded well; would have sounded 
well if put to music, and if it had been played and sung on 
water it would have sounded beautifully. I did not know 
much about law, and do not now, but I did know something 
about a system of public schools, for I had gone to Boston and 
Rhode Island and almost every place on this continent where 
they had grand free schools and colleges; and I said, "Let us 
call in the lawyers and see if it is in accordance with law." 
I said, "I will never sign my name to that document unless one 

De. Rufus C. Bueleson. 389 

of the supreme judges or the attorney general comes in and 
says it is according to law." And we found where it was in 
conflict with about eleven points of the Constitution. I am 
a Democrat, understand, I did not go down when the Democ- 
racy went down into that sour mash, but I will stand by the 
edge of the bucket and when the Democracy comes out I will 
be there. But there were enough mistakes there to horn off 
the free school in about eleven different ways. There was not 
a point where you could run a free school that it did not 
horn it. We saw it. Dr. Sears hung down his head and says, 
"This is a failure." We went up to the elegant home of Mrs. 
Anderson, where we staid, and he said, "This is my third trip 
to Texas and it is a failure." I have been married 36 years, 
and I write a letter to my Avife every night when I am away 
from home. So Dr. Sears laid down, and I went to write to 
my wife, like all good husbands do, for I tell you that a good 
husband must next to God worship his wife, and you good 
ladies will please take note of that, for of course it is a mutual 
affair. Well, the Doctor was lying there groaning, and I said, 
"Doctor, I am sorry you can not sleep." "Oh," he says, "it 
is a failure." "Why," says I, "a failure? I have heard you 
say, and your old president, there never was a grand thing 
that there was not seven ways to do it if you were smart enough 
to find it out." "Well," he said, "what way is there to do 
this?" "Why," says I, "the most beautiful way you ever 
thought of." That was midnight, and I was writing to my 
wife and he was groaning. I said, ''If we had a million dol- 
lars we have no teachers to carry the schools on to-day that 
is, teachers who know how to teach school. !N"ow, we will 
have that constitution changed; and if you will give us 
$6,500, Governor Roberts will give $6,000, and we will found 
a normal school and prepare teachers for Texas." He said, 
"Will your Governor do it? He is not heartily in favor of 
a free school system, and I know it, but he is a grand lawyer 
and will carry out the constitution or die. The constitution 
says, it shall be the duty of the Legislature to inaugurate an 
efficient system of free schools, and I will risk my life on Gov- 
ernor Roberts carrying out that very thing." He raised up 
and said, "Bless God, there is daylight ahead." 

Right there in the hour of defeat, the hour of midnight, 
this grand normal of Texas was conceived. I saw the Gover- 

390 The Life and Writings of 

nor and it was all right. I am giving history just as modestly 
as if I was neither here nor there. Thus we organized our 
denominational schools, our State University, our Agricul- 
tural school, our Normal school, and our teachers convention, 
and Texas is organizing for grand work. I might say a few 
sad things on the other side of it. Well, now, I am afraid 
this will spoil it, and I am ashamed of this part of it. Do 
you know that Baylor University is the only college now in 
existence and I am the only living man that was reaching in 
1851? The colleges are all dead and the teachers are all dead. 
There have been fifty-seven colleges chartered, and military 
schools, great brass buttons all round the arms, and they have 
passed away like shadows on the lake. I am a little more 
ashamed that our Baptist brethren have wasted $157,000, 
upon a grand college at Benton, Red Sulphur College Insti- 
tute in Tarrant County. We have a grand college at Baylor 
and $157,000 has been wasted; and how much, Brother 
McLean, you Methodists have wasted, I do not know. I hope 
you have been wiser than we. The Episcopal college that 
friend Gillette organized at Anderson and they boastfully 
said that St. Paul's College would turn all the other colleges 
into village academies, that the wealth and intelligence would 
flock to St. Paul's three vears after it was a grand stack of 
fodder. St. Paul had departed and the fodder had entered. 
I could tell you some worse things than that on the Baptists. 
But what is the point of giving this? Why these mistakes? 
Alas ! alas ! we never counted up the cost. Why when Judge 
Baylor, and Judge Horton came to me and said, "We have 
elected you president of Baylor University, and it is a dreary 
prospect just now; but in ten years you can build it up 
grandly, and you will have nothing to do through your life 
but to fold your arms and sit down and live at ease." I looked 
at them to see if they were trying to fool me or were fooling 
themselves. They did not count up the cost. I could give 
instances of how we toiled and fought. Why a man came to 
Waco and representing five men he said, "If you adopt co- 
education we will break you up. We have got the money 
and the men." I said, "My friend, you can't break me up; 
and all I ask of you is, when you fail don't get mad, just come 
into line and come back." And they got their school and 

De. Rufus C. Burlesox. 391 

their teacher, and elegant man with brass buttons, and my 
brother was a despondent man, and said, "Brother Rufus, we 
may as well give up; we can't compete." I said, "We stand 
upon the eternal rock." And in three years there was not a 
brass button or a stripe there. I say nothing against military 
colleges, but that was not the way to build up a college. 

A college is like a live oak; it must grow and grow, and 
when it has defied the storms of 500 winters, when it is once 
established, it is the most indestructible thing under the sun. 
If the State of Massachsusetts were to grapple with Harvard, 
or Rhode Island with Brown University, the State would go 
down in the struggle. And if to-day the State of Connecticut 
was to say, we will wipe out old Yale, Yale would wipe out 
Connecticut. And the college is established and it takes what ? 
a lifetime ! Yes, a lifetime to lay the foundation for it. 
I shall begin my fortieth annual session next September, and 
we have been going steadily on. Last year we had 685 stu- 
dents, and next year, by the help of God, we intend to have 
815, and here is a head that is always thinking, a hand that 
is always executing, a tongue that is always explaining. I 
have visited and preached in every old town in Texas except 
Burksville, and I am going there before the summer closes. 
And this is what it takes to build up a college, and if you are 
not willing to pay the cost, do not waste your money; and 
when you have built it up, build up a thing of glory forever. 
I have seen the colleges all die, seen the presidents all die 
and now, if it is the will of God, I want to outlive this old cen- 
tury, and at the end of the century I want to see the magnifi- 
cent building, and stand upon the grand tower there, and if 
the angel chariots will meet me when this old century dies, I 
am willing to say, "Come, Lord Jesus; my eyes have seen 
it." And then I have only laid the foundation, and other 
men, wiser and better men, must carry it on. I must make 
one other point. I glory in every institution that has for its 
end education in Texas, and in connection with this is another 
mistake. Colleges think to build themselves up they have 
got to tear each other down. That is one of the terrible mis- 
takes. God is my judge that I have never laid the weight of 
that little finger on any college or teacher in Texas, but you 
had better believe I am going to build up what has been left 


The Life and Writings of 

in my charge. But we are not in each other's way. Brother 
McLean, if you have 1,000 students help me to get 1,500. 
There are to-day 6,000 young men and women in Texas who 
ought to be in the Texas colleges, and we want to work to- 
gether, to encourage each other, to stand by each other, and 
if you fail, try, try again. If you are pressed to the earth or 
ever overwhelmed, say "God is overhead," and glory will 


Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 393 


Progress of Education in Texas Development of State 
Institutions Dr. B. Sears' Report for 1879 Estab- 
lishment of State University Corner Stone Laid 
November 17th, 1883 Educational Measures Passed 
During Gov. Roberts' Administration Prairie 
View Made a Branch of the University Medical 
University at Galveston Opened October 1st, 1891 
Summer Normals Value of School Property 
Charitable Institutions Generosity of the People 
. in Favor of Education. 

HE culmination of all the trials and conflicts of Dr. 

Barnas Sears, Agent of the Peabody Fund, and Dr. 

Rufus C. Burleson, his faithful representative and 
coadjutor in Texas briefly recited in the last ten chapters, 
forms a story of much value, and possesses much interest to 
the student of the educational history of Texas. Some other 
facts will be merely touched, and then the results of their 
labors given. 

Dr. Sears in his report to the Trustees of the Peabody 
Fund in 1879 says, ''We learn from a special paper prepared 
by the Secretary of the Board of Education dated June 2d, 
1879, that the expenses of this Department were for the year 
1874, $703,117; for 1875, $767,052; for 1876, the office 
was closed and there was no report but they were not less than 
$500,000; for 1877, the amount paid to teachers was 
$500,000; for 1878, it was $750,000. Of the children of the 

394 The Life and Writings of 

State, only those between the ages of eight and fourteen were 
enumerated. The whole number is 194,353, of whom 149,- 
719 are white and 44,636 colored. There were enrolled in the 
public schools in all 146,936. Of this number 111,038 were 
white and 35,898 were colored. 

Since the opening of the year 1879, there has been in all 
Texas a constant contention in regard to school funds. The 
general assembly at its last session, early in the year, passed 
a law making very liberal provisions for schools. The Gover- 
nor vetoed the act and there was an adjournment leaving the 
whole question of finance unsettled. All parties plunged into 
the controversy. The men who secured the passage of the 
law and their numerous sympathizers commented on the 
action and views of the Governor in no gentle terms. The 
supporters of the veto pleaded the financial embarrassment 
of the State, and the prior claims of its creditors, and those of 
the Departments of the Government for their expenses. A 
third party smaller in numbers, but louder in utterance, de- 
nounced the whole theory of public education as unwise and 
unjust. A special session of the Assembly was called, and the 
Governor in several messages, explained his view more fully, 
and endeavored to correct the impression that he was not 
friendly to free schools, adding that the existing schools were 
of little value, and that they could not be much improved 
until the Normal Schools should train a better class of teach- 
ers. The advocates of the bill that was vetoed argued that the 
constitution was mandatory, making it the duty of the Leg- 
islature to maintain an efficient system of free schools, and 
that the pressing necessities of the people in regard to the edu- 
cation of their children, the swelling tide of immigration of 
mixed races, the dangers of barbarism, and the immense un- 
developed natural resources of the State, rendered it doubly 
unwise and unjustifiable to evade the plain meaning of the 

The present school law is indeed defective, and most of 
the public schools, except those of a few cities, are of an in- 
ferior character. Of those who claim to be friendly to free 
schools, one party admitting the imperfections of the law, 
desired, nevertheless, to work under it as best they might till 
they could improve it; the opposite party objected to this 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson - . 395 

course as a waste of the public money, and insisted on waiting 
till a better system could be devised and put in operation. 

After a severe and protracted struggle the party lead by 
the Governor prevailed, and only one-sixth of the general rev- 
enue, instead of one-fourth, was appropriated to schools. 

The most hopeful step that was taken by the Legislature 
at its regular session, was that of establishing two Normal 
schools, one for each race. I visited the State last winter, and 
after many interviews with leading men, proposed to the Leg- 
islature, through the Governor, to make a donation of $6,000, 
to be continued during the pleasure of this Board, if the State 
would establish and maintain a first-class Normal school. The 
Governor advocated the measure in a special message, and a 
law to that effect was accordingly passed, making an annual 
appropriation of $14,000. The location of the school was 
fixed at Huntsville. There has been some objection made to 
the location, yet as an offer of its college building was made 
free of charge, it was accepted. But for this offer the bill 
might not have passed. Provision is made for paying all the 
expenses of seventy-four State pupils. The colored Normal 
school, established at the same time, is to be at Prairie View, 
with an annual appropriation of $6,000, and a given number 
of scholarships. 

In a message to the Legislature at its special session, the 
Governor expressed his views respecting Normal schools in the 
following manner : 

"The importance of these Normal schools as a necessary 
incident to an efficient system of public free schools in this 
State, can not, as I believe, be well over-estimated. They are 
simply indispensable in the effort gradually to attain that de- 
sirable object. No efficient system can ever be attained in 
Texas, whatever else mav be done, without the aid of Normal 
schools. I regard it as the first step in the right direction, 
which, if persisted in, will, above all else, to the extent of its 
expenses, aid in the consummation of the final success of the 
undertaking to establish a system." 

The foregoing is the last report but one from the lamented 
Dr. Sears. In February, 1880, his report is brief and relates 
exclusively to the successful establishment of the Sam Hous- 
ton Normal Institute at Huntsville. 

396 The Life and Writings of 

Dr. Barnas Sears died at Saratoga, July 6, 1880, after a 
brief illness. He was a great and good man and was cut down 
in the midst of his usefulness. 

At the regular meeting of the Trustees in February, 
1881, Dr. J. L. M. Curry was unanimously chosen General 
Agent of the Peabody Fund, who ably and conscientiously con- 
tinued to work for his predecessor. Dr. Curry, who is a Bap- 
tist minister, was United States Embassador to Spain during 
Cleveland's first administration, and has few superiors as an 
author and scholar. 

Governor Roberts' veto of the Appropriation Bill" of- 
fered by the Sixteenth Legislature has been sufficiently ven- 
tilated as it regards the subject of free schools. "Pay as you 
go" became the popular motto of his administration. The 
usual plans were resorted to by ambitious politicians to arouse 
an opposition to his re-nomination in 1880, principally through 
garbled extracts from his veto message with reference to pub- 
lic free schools. Governor Roberts was easily nominated on 
the first ballot. His second term began January 11, 1881. 

Early in the Legislative session of 1881, the committee 
appointed by the State Teachers' Association, of which Dr. 
0. H. Cooper was chairman, presented an able memorial to 
the Governor for the establishment of the "University of 
Texas," which was transmitted by him to the Legislature with 
his message on education. "The act to establish the Univer- 
sity of Texas was passed by the Legislature as stated and ap- 
proved March 30, 1881. It provided for the manner of its 
location, and generally for its government and regulation, and 
that its institution might not be delayed, another act was 
passed and approved April 1, 1881, providing for the appoint- 
ment by the Governor, with the consent of the Senate, of a 
Board of Regents, to be chosen from the different parts of the 
State. "The attempt had been made in 1858, under Gover- 
nor Pease, to inaugurate this institution, but the war and its 
distressing accompaniments had postponed the great work 
nearly a quarter of a century." 

"Among the important economic changes adopted by the 
State in remedying the expensive school system instituted dur- 
ing the "period of reconstruction," was one recommended by 
Governor Roberts, classifying the teachers into several grades 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 397 

so that great saving was effected in the salaries, instead of pay- 
ing the teachers all alike. The prices of sale of the public 
lands were reduced and various measures were taken for the 
more rapid disposition of them to produce greater funds for the 
support of the free schools and establishment of the University. 
What was known as the "fifty cent's act," reducing the price 
of the public lands to that figure, was suggested by Governor 

The location of the Academic and Law Departments of 
the University was established at Austin and the Medical 
branch at Galveston by a vote of the people. Austin was also 
chosen, as the law required, for the branch for the education 
of the colored youth of the State. The Agricultural and Me- 
chanical College at Bryan had already been designated in the 
Constitution as a branch of the University. The Twenty- 
third Legislature of 1891 also made Prairie View College a 
branch of the University. 

The Academic and Law Departments having been pre- 
viously organized, the University was formally opened in the 
main building September 15, IS 83. The University is con- 
ducted on the simple co-educational plan which admits stu- 
dents of both sexes on equal terms. A popular provision has 
been adopted for correlating the University with the public 
schools by admitting graduates of the school without special 
examination at the University when the applicants are from 
approved schools. This action had a tendency to better feel- 
ing between the friends of the free school and the University." 

"The inauguration of the Medical College at Galveston, 
as a branch of the University is the result of liberality on the 
part of citizens of Galveston, and of the city authorities in 
co-operation with the action of the State, whereby the Medical 
Department has not only been put into operation sooner than 
it otherwise would have been, but the University has secured 
an elegant property, known as the "John Sealy Hospital."' 
The conditions proposed were accepted on the part of the State, 
and at the next meeting of the Legislature, in 1889, Galveston 
offered to donate twenty-five thousand dollars upon the further 
condition that the State would appropriate a like amount for 
the purposes of the institution, which proposition was accepted, 

398 The Life and Writings of 

and all that the terms required was consummated. The first 
annual session of the college began October 1, 1891. 

An act of the Legislature in 1876, entitled ''An Act to 
Establish an Agricultural and Mechanical College for Colored 
Youths/"' and twenty thousand dollars was appropriated for the 
purpose. It was located in Waller County, where a site witii 
suitable agricultural lands was purchased. As the patronage 
it received did not warrant its being maintained as a school 
of industrial training, it was converted into a State Normal 
to meet the demand for trained colored teachers. Its indus- 
trial features have since been restored and the Legislature of 
1891 constituted Prairie View College a branch of the Univer- 
sity. The College receives direct appropriations from the 
State and gets annually one-fourth of the Congressional pro- 
vision of $15,000 for the Agricultural Experiment Station in 
Texas. Students of both sexes are admitted to the school. 
As a Normal school it has been very successful. 

Summer Normals are a feature in the educational system 
of the State, and they render valuable assistance to teachers. 
They are located and the conductors of them are appointed by 
the State Superintendent of Instruction. 

Formally the State made appropriations for the support 
of Summer Normal schools for the benefit of teachers and 
others, but the appropriations were eventually discontinued, 
and they and teachers institutes are held in such cities and 
towns as provided for them. 

No statistics have been compiled from which to ascertain 
the total value of public and private school property in Texas, 
but it must amount in the aggregate to many millions of dol- 
lars. Baylor Universiy and many of the denominational col- 
leges own valuable buildings and other property, and possibly 
altogether the school property of the State represents an in- 
vestment of $20,000,000. Many city school buildings are 
expensive structures and are now found in almost every town 
of any size and importance in the State. 

In addition to the State educational institutions already 
cited, eleemosynary and charitable institutions, public and 
private, possess an educational feature, and are conducted most 
liberally and in the most perfect manner. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 399 

In concluding the enumeration of the educational fea- 
tures of Texas the newspaper is a factor which can not be 
justly ignored. As disseminators of knowledge, as agents for 
moulding public opinion, arresting crime and the spread of 
intelligence their value could scarcely be overestimated. The 
prostitution of this medium of intelligence to subserve sordid 
and unworthy purposes, as has been done in some instances in 
the State, by those who conduct them, should forever entail 
on the offender the odium merited by the offense. The Press 
is a powerful projector for good or evil according to the dispo- 
sition of those who are in control. Texas owes much to her 
newspapers, and especially to those that were established early 
in its history, and struggled for life during the adverse condi- 
tions which encompassed her infancy and youth, because they 
did much to hasten the day of her deliverance from Mexican 

This reference to newspapers, and placing them in the 
category of educational enterprises, is made for the reason that 
Dr. Burleson was a sincere friend of the Press, and believed 
in its potency and power. The young men in Baylor were en- 
couraged to establish college journals, as a means of mental 

Having now concluded an enumeration of all the institu- 
tions of Texas possessing an educational feature, a brief recap- 
itulation will explain the plan we have had in contemplation 
throughout the story. 

We have viewed Texas as a wild wilderness inhabited by 
a rude and savage people. We have witnessed the desires and 
struggles of the early settlers to encourage education, both the 
founders of Baylor University, and the friends of public 
schools. We have seen how by means of law, under the fos- 
tering care of the government enterprises launched resulting 
in failure; and then noticed the more successful efforts of the 
colonists to foster schools amid the dangers of frontier life. We 
have observed school enterprises under five governments and 
collected the record of their demands for the education of 
their children. 

In some instances the liberality of the people was carried 
to an extreme, and in both public and private enterprises 
amounted to prodigality. Texas has donated nearly all its 

400 The Life and Writings of 

splendid public domain, to the value of untold millions to the 
education of its children. Nowhere more than in Texas has 
the world witnessed such devotion to knowledge and educa- 

In all the campaigns made in Texas from 1848 to 1901 
for better educational facilities, Dr. Burleson has been a con- 
spicuous figure. He was among the first to take the field in ad- 
vocacy of a system of common schools. 

By reference to his first report as Lecturer for the Pea- 
body Fund it may be ascertained that he was the first to recom- 
mend the holding of teachers institutes by the teachers of Gal- 
veston and they have continued since to grow in favor. With 
the members of the profession. 

He was among the first to insist on the enforcement of 
that clause in the State constitution providing for the Univer- 
sity of Texas. 

He was the first teacher in Texas to suggest the estab- 
lishment of a Normal Institute in which to train teachers. 

It is to Dr. Burleson's credit, that the present free school 
system of the State, the system of holding teachers institutes, 
the Sam Houston Normal Institute at Huntsville, and the 
State University at Austin, are all largely the result of his 
earnest work and love for education in its broadest sense. All 
of this service he performed while President of Baylor Uni- 
versity, and that he did so without neglecting his official duties, 
shows his wonderful capacity for work. 

One other statement, and letter will show the breadth of 
Dr. Burleson's interest in the cause of education. He was 
President of a denominational school, but felt the keenest in- 
terest in the schools of all other churches, and rendered them 
aid and encouragement, rather than treating them as competi- 
tors and rivals, as the following communication will show : 

Add-Pan Christian University, 

Hermoson ; Texas, Nov. 24th, 1900. 

Dr. R. C. Burleson, Waco, Texas: 

Honored Sir : I am told that Add-Ran has heretofore 
had the pleasure and honor of your presence on all public 
occasions of special interest. I take this means of assuring you 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 


of our hearty appreciation of your interest in our welfare, and 
in behalf of Add-Ean Christian University. I cordially invite 
you to be with us on Thanksgiving day. Our program con- 
sists of a Thanksgiving service, dinner, and dedication of our 
new building at 3 :30 p. m. 

Most respectfully and cordially yours, 

E. C. SNOW, 

Chairman Faculty. 


402 The Life axd "Writings of 


Resolution of the East Texas Coxyextiox October 12th, 
1867 Organization of the Baptist General Asso- 
ciation of Texas July 17th, 1868 Gex. James E. 
Harrison, of "Waco, Elected Presidext R. C. BURLE- 

Speight, Chairman of Committee to Remodel Consti- 
tution Dr. Burleson Moves to Send Eraternal 
Delegates to State Convention Dr. Burleson 
Elected Corresponding Secretary for the Fourth 

f Q ]X the 12th of October, 1867, the Baptist Convention 
L il H li i of East Texas, assembled in a special session in 
vffmrJ Tvler, at which time a resolution was introduced, 
debated and adopted, changing the name of that body to the 
Baptist General Association of Texas. The matter had been 
previously canvassed among the churches, associations and 
individuals composing the East Texas Convention, and the 
question predetermined. The adoption of the resolution was 
merely pro forma. 

The East Texas Convention had confined its operations 
entirely to the Eastern portion of the State, and the reason f or 
making this change in the designation of the convention, was 
to give the body a name of more general significance, that it 
might with unquestioned propriety, enlarge the scope of its 

The State convention was, and had been from the date 
of its formation in 1848, extending fostering care over Baylor 

Dr. Rufus C. Buelesox. 403 

University at Independence, and the 'real reason for changing 
the name of the East Texas Convention, and extending the 
area of its jurisdiction, was that it might include the territory 
of Waco Association, which would give the new body the 
undisputed right to foster Waco University, and assume all 
the authority over it, that the genius of Baptist Ecclesiasticism 
would allow. The data and facts to hand does not justify this 
statement, but speaking from behind the scenes for a moment, 
it can be safely asserted, that Dr. R. C. Burleson was largely 
instrumental in inducing the East Texas Convention to prac- 
tically dissolve, and surrender the situation to the new organi- 

The Baptist General Association of Texas, held its first 
annual session at Chatfield, Navarro county, July 17, 1868. 
General James E. Harrison, of Waco, was elected President; 
W. B. Eeatherstone, W. C. Buck and R. C. Burleson, Vice- 
Presidents; Prof. J. T. Hand, Recording Secretary, and Gen- 
eral Joseph W. Speight, Treasurer. Very few religious bodies 
have ever been launched with a more distinguished corps of 

Dr. Burleson expressed a preference for the position of 
Corresponding Secretary, a position he filled as we have seen 
in the State Convention. He therefore tendered his resigna- 
tion as Vice-President, W. G. Caperton was chosen to fill the 
vacancy, and Dr. Burleson unanimously elected to the posi- 
tion for which he had expressed some preference. He was 
made chairman of a committee, with General Joseph W. 
Speight, W. B. Featherstone, W. C. Buck and W. L. Foster 
as associates, to revise and remodel the constitution so as to 
make it provide more fully, for the enlarged territory, in- 
creased demands, greater operations and new interests and 
enterprises of the body. 

This committee prepared and presented a constitution, 
using the constitution of the erstwhile East Texas Conven- 
tion, as a basis, which was a substantial reproduction of the 
constitution of the old State Convention. It stated : "This 
body shall be called, The Baptist General Association of 

404 The Life axd Writings of 

"The objects of this association shall be Missionary and 
Educational, the promotion of harmony of feeling, concert of 
action among Baptists, and a system of operative measures 
for the promotion of the Redeemer's Kingdom." 

'"This Association shall be composed of messengers chosen 
annually by Baptist churches, not exceeding two from any one 
church, and by associations, not exceeding four from any one 
association, and one additional messenger from every church 
that shall contribute $10 annually, and one additional mess- 
enger for every $20 contributed annually by any association, 
and such members of Baptist churches as shall contribute 
annually the sum of $5." 

The constitution goes on to re-amrrn the principle of 
church sovereignty, so tenaciously clung to by the Baptists 
of the world, from the time Paul declared it to be "the ground 
and pillar of the Truth." 

Section 1, Article III., of the constitution says: "This 
association shall never possess a single attribute of power or 
authoritv over anv church, or association of churches; but it 
disclaims absolutely any right of this kind, or any other 
ecclesiastical authority, hereby avowing that every church is 
sovereign and independent." 

The constitution offered by the committee having been 
adopted, the association was now in the field for Divine and 
denominational favor. To assure the friends and constituency 
of the convention, that the spirit of the association was not 
antagonistic, but fraternal, the following resolution was 
adopted : 

"Resolved, That the following messengers be appointed 
to the Baptist State Convention : J. Beall, W. A. Dunklin, 
M. B. Hardin, R. C. Buckner, J. B. Link, and that they be 
instructed to assure our dear brethren of our highest Christian 
regard, and our desire to be co-laborers with them, in the gre?t 
work of promoting our Redeemer's Kingdom in Texas. 
"Respectfully submitted, 


The extent and condition of the territory to be covered 
by the General Association, and the leading objects to which 
its energies and resources would be devoted, are stated in a 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 405 

most interesting way by Rev. R. C. Buckner, in a report on 
Home Missions, and Rev. M. B. Hardin in a report on Educa- 

To say that the General Association prospered beyond 
the expectations of those who projected it, would not prehaps 
be a correct statement, because great things were planned and 
great results were expected. But that its growth was rapid 
cannot be doubted. At the first session there were eighteen 
churches represented. At the second session held in Tyler, 
July 23, 1869, thirty-eight churches and eleven district asso- 
ciations sent delegates to the meeting. 

Rev. Thomas F. Lockett, chairman of the committee on 
Education, made this reference to Waco University in his 
report : 

"Waco University, a regular chartered Institution, under 
the Presidency of Dr. Rufus C. Burleson, has been in success- 
ful operation for about nine years, sending forth its graduates 
to take their places among the great Baptist family of Texas. 
This Institution is now putting forth efforts, through its 
Financial Agent, to place itself with the very best Institutions 
of our land. We cordially recommend it to the sympathies 
and support of our churches and brethren." 

Corresponding Secretary Burleson, presented and re- 
viewed the work of the year, and made suggestions for future 

Dr. Burleson was re-elected Corresponding Secretary at 
this session and also at the sessions held in Paris July 22, 1870, 
and Fairfield in 1871. Here, Waco University, and the 
cause of higher education in Texas, received a large share of 
attention from the association. 

Dr. Burleson was re-elected Corresponding Secretary at 
the annual session of the Association held at Rowlets Creek, 
July 26, 1872. In his report for this year, he deplores the 
fact that the operations of the body had not been so successful, 
or actively prosecuted as they deserved to be, notwithstanding 
which, the churches already established, and the cause in gen- 
eral, was flourishing. 

"Your Corresponding Secretary has received important 
communications from the Home Mission Board, at Marion, 


The Life and "Writings of 

Alabama, and from the Foreign Mission Board, at Richmond, 
Virginia. Texas Baptists have received over $30,000 from 
the Southern Baptist Convention in their early struggles, and 
Ave should now show our gratitude, by fully co-operating with 
her Boards, in their glorious work. We would call especial 
attention to Missions in Rome, which is worthy of our sup- 

He then proceeds in a gladsome, joyous strain to sum up 
the situation : 

"Dear Brethren : Our Savior has blessed us with 
ample means, to respond to all these calls." 

"Never have our fields yielded such abundant increase; 
never have our churches been blessed with greater revivals; 
never have our District Associations been more successful in 
their Mission work; never have our Institutions of learning 
been so prosperous." 

Concluding, he remarks with that confidence born of a 
broad purpose, and a willingness to work : 

"All that is now wanting is, for the General Association 
to do her duty, and the desert shall blossom as the rose." 

De. Rufus C. Buelesox. 40' 


Geowth of the General Association Dk. Burleson 
Elected Peesident at Jeffeeson July 25th, 1873 
Re-elected at Dallas, 1874; Sherman, 1875; Waco, 
1876; Paris, 1877; Fort Worth, 1878; Pittsburg, 
1879 Served the Association as Coeresponding 
Secretaey and President Eleven Consecutive Years 
Movement to Establish Organic Connection Be- 
tween General Association and Waco University 
The Pott's Resolution Movement Consumated at 
Sulphur Springs in 1882 A Sketch of the Con- 
solidation Movement Resulting in the Union of all 
the General Baptist Conventions in the State. 

/k MULTITUDE of great Baptist preachers, and dis- 
SSSg tinguished laymen contributed of their wisdom and 
agis J work, to the phenomenal growth and strength of the 
Baptist General Association of Texas, during its brief but 
vigorous existence of seventeen years. The reports of the 
various committees on the various departments of work are 
literary productions of a high order of excellence, and are 
worthy of being placed in more enduring form and being pre- 
served forever. It would be delightful to perform this task 
now, and give just and merited recognition to the noble hosts, 
who made this short but glorious chapter in the history of 
Texas Baptists. 

"Oh! your merit speaks loud; and 'tis wrong- 
To lock it in the wards of covert bosom; 
When it deserves, with characters of brass, 
A forted residence 'gainst the tooth of time, 
And razure of oblivion." 

408 The Life and Writings of 

This, however, would be entirely beyond the scope of this 
work, and only such men and measures are noticed, as touch 
him, the story of whose life we are telling. 

Dr. Burleson was elected President of the General Asso- 
ciation at the annual session held in Jefferson, July 25, 1873, 
and re-elected for seven consecutive years; namely: At 
Dallas, July 24, 1874; Sherman, July 23, 1875; Waco, July 
20, 1876; Paris, July 20, 1877; Fort Worth, July 26, 1878; 
and Pittsburg, July 25, 1879. After this session, while he 
continued to attend the annual meetings, he was not an officer 
of the body.' His official connection with the association 
embraced a period of eleven consecutive years. It is a fact 
deserving mention, that his official connection with the General 
Association was almost an exact reproduction of his official 
capacity with the old State Convention, the only difference 
being, he served the Association three years longer. He was 
Corresponding Secretary and President of the Convention, 
from its organization in 1848 to 1856; and Corresponding 
Secretary and President of the Association from its organiza- 
tion in 1868 to 1879. 

Up to this session of the Association, there had been much 
private discussion indulged in by the members as to the desira 
bilitv of organic connection between the Association and Waco 
University, but the question had never come before the body 
until now. 

A committee on Schools and Colleges was appointed, 
consisting of J. L. Whittle, L. W. Coleman, L. H. Tilman, D. 
I. Smith, W. H. Parks, E. P. Brown, G. W. Good, and J. R. 
Johnson. In its report, which is an eloquent document, the 
committee declared that after the Ministry, and pious family 
training, nothing transcended in vital religious culture the 
Christian College or School, used this language : 

"These premises considered, your committee would earn- 
estly recommend that, as an auxiliary to the mission work in 
our bounds, schools and colleges controlled by pious Baptists, 
wherever located, should be heartily approved and encouraged. 
But we especially recommend that this Association should join 
hands, hearts and purses, in the establishment, upon a firm, 
immovable basis, within our bounds, one first-class university, 

De. Rutus C. Burlesox. 409 

for the culture of all our boys and girls, second to no other 
university from Maine to Mexico, and from the Gulf coast to 
British America, to the end that Texas parents will not be en- 
ticed out of our State, seeking a place for the education of her 
children, but that we may have, as we can, if we will, a grand 
educational center, around which we can rally our forces, led 
by Christian men and women to wage a successful aggressive 
and gloriously triumphant warfare against Ingersollism, free- 
lovism and all other God-dishonoring isms that infest and eat 
upon our common country. 

Brethren, we have, in this struggle for educational su- 
premacy in Texas, much to encourage us. We have our Sher- 
man school, presided over by our noble and worthy Brother 
ISTash, and others of equal merit; but we have a school at 
Waco, known as Waco University, which has stood the pelting 
storms of adversity and the cyclones of opposition for years, 
which, instead of superinducing a failure in its work, has 
caused its roots to deepen and its top to grow taller and wider 
until it has gained the sympathy and admiration of a host of 
friends, and put to silence its most determined and merciless 
enemies. Here we have a nucleus around and upon which we 
may lay our educational sacrifices with the full assurance that 
we shall reap lasting benefits both for time and eternity for our 
children and our children's children, and for generations 
along the ages to come. Waco University conies to us em- 
balmed in the tears and prayers and toils and hopes of our 
fathers in Israel, some of whom have passed over to God to 
rest from their labors, others nearing the shores and will soon 
step off the old tempest-tossed ship into the serene haven of 
rest; and if there is such a thing as communicating scenes of 
earth in heaven, let those who have gone before have the joy 
of hearing that we who are left behind, still to toil in labors 
of love, appreciate the foundation of an educational institu- 
tion laid by them in the Waco University. This University, 
along with Georgetown, Mercer, Howard, Richmond, Brown, 
etc., can truthfully boast of children, young in years, but old 
and rich in wisdom, piety and toils for the cause of Christ's 
religion and general progress among men, for their promo- 
tion, usefulness and happiness on earth and their everlasting 
joy in heaven. 

410 The Life and Whitings of 

We recommend that our Baptist brethren and sisters in 
all our bounds resolve themselves into one grand committee 
on schools and colleges, and that if they hear of any one, and 
especially of Baptists, who design sending their sons or 
daughters to college, that they urge the claims of Waco Uni- 
versity as our school, emphatically a Baptist school, belonging 
to the great Baptist family of Texas, with Brother Burleson 
and others to do our bidding in its faithful and efficient man- 
agement, whose faithfulness deserves to be held in sacred 

This report was read by J. L. Whittle, and discussed by 
W. J. Brown, R. C. Burleson, B. H. Carroll, J. K. Bumpass, 
W. H. Park, and resulted in the adoption of the appended 
resolution : 

Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed by this 
body to confer with the Board of Trustees of Waco University 
and with Waco Association with reference to organic connec- 
tion of this General Association with Waco University as her 
denominational school provided such transfer of property as 
shall be satisfactory to all parties can be secured and report 
to this body at its next annual meeting. 

Provided further, this General Association assumes no 
pecuniary obligation. 

At a meeting of the Association held in Waco, July 22, 
1881, the question, "Shall there be organic connection be- 
tween this body and Waco University?" received a double 
affirmative reply. 

The committee on Schools and Colleges, of which W. A. 
Jan-el, S. B. Maxey, R C. Burleson, W. H. Parks, W. G. 
Calloway, G. D. Pulton and T. H. Compere were members, 
after emphasizing the value of Christian schools, reported in 
part as follows : 

"We are rejoiced to hear of the success of the Baptist 
schools in the bounds of our General Association. Among 
the many we feel that we must call especial attention to Waco 
University so long and widely known. Waco has four brick 
buildings completed, and matriculated last year about 300 
students. Waco University was never so justly the pride of 
her friends and worthy of their confidence and patronage as 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 411 

now. We trust, therefore, that the organic connection of the 
University with the General Association as recommended at 
the last session of that body, will be taken under prayerful 

The committee on the organic connection between the 
Association and University, appointed at Ennis, through L. 
IT. Tilman and W. K. Posey, after reciting the history of the 
Institution, expressed themselves in these terms : 

"At the organization of this General Association, the 
lamented D. B. Morrill and others urged that an organic 
connection be formed with Waco University. This was op- 
posed by the President and officers of Waco University, solely 
on the ground that it might injure the General Association as 
a missionary organization; but after twelve years' experience, 
we find the enemies of Waco University just as bitter against 
the General Association as though organic connection did 
exist, and as they have ceased their connection with our body, 
it is believed that organic connection should be formed." 

At Sulphur Springs in 1882, the transfer of the property 
of Waco University was accepted by the Association, and a 
Commission appointed to raise an endowment of $60,000, the 
citizens of Waco to add $20,000 to a building fund of $20,000 
already on hand. 

The school at Waco, it may be said, had all along been the 
'protege, of the Association practically, but it now became 
so legally and technically, and this body was in the arena with 
all the appendages, accessaries, missionary and educational en- 
terprises, as a rival and competitor with the State convention, 
the Association covering North Texas, and the convention the 
southern portion of the State. There were other bodies in the 
State, Lo be sure, but their operations were feeble, and their 
territory incognizable. At Cleburne on July 20, 1883, Dr. 
B. H. Carroll presented the report to the Association on "The 
Relation to other Bodies." He stated the subject to be one 
of great delicacy and difficulty. There were the North, East, 
Central an South Texas Conventions, having in a measure 
vague and undefmable boundaries. "Associations," he said, 
"have been divided in counsel, some rent asunder; churches 
have been torn by factions, brethren alienated and strife en- 

412 The Life and Writings of 

gendered." It was decided in view of these facts to appoint a 
committee of five, whose business it was made, to convey 
fraternal greetings to all the bodies, to confer with them on 
the subject of unification, under three heads. 1st. Is it de- 
sirable and expedient. 2d. Is it practicable. 3d. If so, 
under what form? 

Unification was comparatively a new word in Baptist 
literature up to this time, but now it became the slogan of a 
mighty campaign, and was on all tongues. It became the 
subject of newspaper articles, the text of sermons, the theme 
of debate, and the subject of general conversation. 

At the meeting of the association in Paris, July 24th, 
1885, Rev. T. S. Potts introduced the following resolution, 
which was unanimously passed : 

"Resolved, That it is the sense of this association that, 
under existing circumstances, the interest of our denomina- 
tion in Texas would be best subserved by the existence of one 
General Body, and that this Association is willing to co-operate 
with other general bodies for the accomplishment of this end 
on terms honorable and equal to all." 

L. L. Foster, H. M. Furman and S. L. Morris were 
authorized to convey this resolution to the State Convention 
in Lampasas. 

This resolution was presented October 3d, 1885, and 
responded to by the passage of the subjoined preamble and 
resolutions, introduced by G. W, Smith : 

"Whereas, a desire has been widely expressed for the 
consolidation of our missionary bodies in the State; therefore, 
be it 

"Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed to con- 
fer with any like committee that may have been or may be 
hereafter appointed by other bodies, and report some suitable 
expression to this body on this subject." 

This committee was appointed, and consisted of G. W. 
Smith, J. B. Link, A. S. Broadas, Abram Weaver and B. T. 
Hanks, who reported as follows: 

"The Baptist State Convention, having considered the 
importance of consolidating our general bodies, and believing 
that the interest of our educational and missionary work, as 

Dr. Rufus C. Burlesox. 413 

well as the peace, harmony and prosperity of our denomina- 
tion in the entire State, will be promoted thereby, we 
announce our readiness to meet like committees from the 
General Association and East Texas Convention, for the pur- 
pose of securing organic unity on terms of equity and fairness 
to all parties; and we hereby authorize our committee to meet 
with committees named from other bodies for like purposes, 
and to enter upon terms of. consolidation ; and if these terms 
are endorsed by these bodies, or either of them, the same to be 
reported back for our ratification." 

A joint meeting of the committees from the State Con- 
vention and General Association met in Temple, December 
9th, 1885, and adopted the following basis of union: 

First That the Baptist General Association of Texas be 
consolidated with the Baptist State Convention of Texas. 

Second That the name of the consolidated body be The 
Baptist General Convention of Texas. 

Third That the basis of representation in the first meet- 
ing of the consolidated body shall be the same as heretofore. 
Those coming from the State Convention territory enter the 
consolidated body on the same terms they formerly entered the 
State Convention, and those from the General Association 
have membership upon the same terms upon which they for- 
merly entered that body. 

Fourth That the mission work be continued until the 
first meeting as heretofore, under the direction of the two Gen- 
eral Bodies, respectively, and be reported to that meeting. 

Fifth That the first meeting of the 'consolidated body 
be held at Waco, beginning Tuesday after the first Sunday in 
July, 1886." 

Unification had now swept the State like flames of fire 
across a dry mow, and every Baptist State organization in 
Texas fell into the mighty folds of consolidation and unifica- 
tion, and thus forever disappeared from view. We shall not 
give the details of the adoption of the onward movement by 
other bodies, but dispose of it in a few sweeping sentences. 

The East Texas Convention was organized at Overton 
December 12th, 1877, worked with some success for eight 
years, and merged itself into the General Convention at Cen- 
ter in July, 1885. 


The Life and "Writings of 

The jSTorth Texas Convention was formed at Piano, July 
3d, 1879, and at a meeting held at Bells, August 3d, 1883, 
resolved to unite with the Baptist State Convention, and thus 
dropped into consolidation indirectly. 

The Central Texas Convention was organized at Dublin, 
November 12th, 1880. The fifth session was held at Hico, in 
August, 1885, at which time a resolution was passed to enter 
the consolidation movement, and the organization dissolved. 

The five missionary and educational conventions in the 
State thus, and in this way, became one, but this was not the 
last to be heard of unification. It touched some other inter- 
est over which Dr. Burleson presided, which will be duly 
noticed when that period is reached. 


(This is " The Old Home Place" of Dr. Burleson located on Tenth and Baylor 
Streets. The present house is the work of Mr. R. A. Burleson, who entirely remod- 
eled and greatly improved the place in July and August, 1900. The house is a sub- 
stantial brick and frame structure containing ten rooms. It is located on a plot of 
land containing four lots and when entirely completed will be among the best homes 
in the city. Here Dr. Burleson lived until his death in 1901.) 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 415 


First Session of the Consolidated Convention in Waco, 
June 26th, 1886 Dr. Burleson Member of the Board 
of Directors Constitution of the Convention Dr. 
Burleson Continued on the Board of Directors at 
Dallas in 1887, and Made Chairman of Committee on 
Colored Population Bishop College Vice-Presi- 
dent in 1889 and 1890 Elected President in 1892 
at Belton and Re-elected at Gainesville in 1893. 


IISTCE the State Convention was one of the largest 
components of the consolidated or composite body, 
Dr. Burleson, it may be said, had returned to his 
first love, or, rather, his first love had returned to him. He 
had been separated from the convention since 1861, twenty- 
four years, and while devoting himself to accomplish substan- 
tially the same great purpose, still his co-laborers from 1848 to 
1861 were in another portion of the State, building on founda- 
tions he had helped in laying and developing plans he had 
helped to formulate. Now, however, after a separation of a 
quarter of a century, they were supposed to be reunited, but 
when he came to survey the personnel of the new body scores 
of the familiar forms and faces and noble spirits with whom 
he had affiliated in past years were gone. Huckins, Hayne?. 
Baylor, Holmes, Shannon, Creathe, Houston, Jackson and 
others, numbering hundreds, had crossed to the other shore. 

Dr. Burleson loved the past, felt an undying attachment 
for those who had worked with him on the outposts in the 
early days in Texas; he was also proud of recurring to past 
events and recounting bygone achievements; but this in no 

416 The Life axd Writings of 

way affected his interest in the present or future, as is the 
case with some persons. He missed these old men, and sor- 
rowed because they were not present to join their shouts with 
his, while the Baptists of Texas were unfolding plans for 
grander triumphs; but this was neither discouraging or demor- 
alizing in its effects on his disposition. The command was 
forward, upward and higher, and he obeyed without hesita- 
tion or reluctance, but with caution, and moved well toward 
the front of the advancing column. 

The first session of the Baptist General Convention of 
Texas, the consolidated body, was held in "Waco, June the 
26th, 1886. 

Dr. A. T. Spalding has the honer of being the first Presi- 
dent, and Judge O. H. P. Garrett and Dr. S. J. Anderson, 
Secretaries. Dr. Reddin Andrews, Dr. Frank Kiefer and 
Rev. Tully Choice were Vice-Presidents. Dr. A. J. Holt 
was elected Corresponding Secretary and Superintendent of 
Missions. The first Board of Directors of the Convention was 
composed of Dr. R. C. Burleson, B. H. Carroll, Warwick H. 
Jenkins, J. B. Link, F. L. Carroll, J. S. Allen, A. W. Dunn, 
C. Faulkner, S. B. Humphries, J. T. Battle, G. W. Pickett, 
F. M. Law, M. V. Smith, J. H. Stribling, E. E. Clemmons, J. 
T. Harris, W. E. Tynes, R. T. Hanks, W. L. Williams, R. J. 
Sledge, George Yarborough, J. A. Hackett, G. W. Smith, 
William Wedemeyer, W. H. Dodson, S. L. Mullins, J. M. C. 
Breaker, A. E. Baten, B. W. 1ST. Simms and F. S. Potts. 

The members of the Board were selected from the terri- 
tory of all the bodies composing the convention, whose juris- 
diction and authoritv was now co-extensive with the State. 
The officers of the body were made ex-officio members of the 
Board of Directors. The magnitude of the convention may 
be gathered from the statement that there were two hundred 
and fifty churches and twenty-two associations represented in 
the meeting. Some partiality is expressed, for indicating the 
growth of Texas Baptists by comparison. By this method it 
is quickly grasped and without effort. An association, it will 
be borne in mind, is often composed of fifty or more churches. 
At this first meeting of the consolidated body there were 
twenty-two associations represented, which is exactly the num- 
ber of churches represented in the organization of the State 

Dr. Rufus C. Burlesox. 417 

Convention in 1848, thirty-eight years before, and wants only 
six of being twice the number of churches represented in the 
organization of the General Association in 1868, seventeen 
years before. Another and a more general and, therefore, 
more interesting comparison indicative of this increase may 
be made. There were twenty-two churches in the organiza- 
tion of the State Convention in 1848, fourteen in the General 
Association in 1868, nineteen in the East Texas Convention 
in 1877, seventeen in the Central Texas Convention in 1880, 
and about thirteen in the ISTorth Texas Convention in 1879, a 
total of eighty-five, taking part in the organization of these 
five bodies. Two hundred and fifty, or within a fraction of 
three times this number, were represented in the organization 
of the General Convention in Waco in 1886, not to mention 
the twenty-two associations. 

The constitution of the convention was prepared and 
presented for adoption by B. H. Carroll, F. M. Law, R. T. 
Hanks, W. H. Dodson and E. Z. F. Golden. 

Article I. 

Section 1. The name of this body shall be the Baptist 
General Convention of Texas. 

Section 2. The object of this convention shall be mis- 
sionary and educational, the promotion of harmony of feel- 
ing and concert of action among Baptists, and a system of 
operative measures for the promotion of the interest of the 
Redeemer's kingdom; but no individual enterprise shall be 
formally entertained or acted on by this body. 

Article II. 

Section 1. This body shall be composed of messengers 
from regular Baptist Churches, and associations of Baptist 
Churches, and Baptist missionary societies, co-operating with 
the convention. 

Section 2. Each church shall be entitled to two messen- 
gers, and one additional messenger to each $25.00 contrib- 
uted to the funds of the convention, and in no case shall any 
one church be entitled to more than eight messengers. 


418 The Life and Writings of 

Section 3. Each association shall be allowed two mes- 
sengers, and one additional for each $100.00 expended in 
missionary work, done within its own bounds, and one addi- 
tional for every $100.00 contributed to the funds of this con- 

Section 4. Every Baptist missionary society shall be 
allowed one messenger for every $25.00 contributed to the 
funds of this body, and in no case shall any society be entitled 
to more than four messengers. 

Article III. 
Donations and Powers. 

Section 1. All donations to the objects of this conven- 
tion shall be strictly applied according to the expressed will 
and direction of the donors. 

Section 2. The convention does not have and shall never 
attempt to exercise a single attribute of power or authority 
over any church, but it cheerfully recognizes the absolute 
sovereignty of the churches. 

Article IV. 

Officers and Their Duties. 

The constitution proceeds to give a list of the officers of 
the convention and defines their duties. The officers are a 
President, three Vice-Presidents, Corresponding Secretary, 
two Recording Secretaries, and a Treasurer. The duties 
imposed on these officers are such as is indicated by their 

Article V. 

Section 1. The convention shall appoint five Boards, as 
follows : 

(1) The Board of Directors of the Baptist General Con- 
vention, to consist of thirty members, three of whom shall 
be nominated by the President and approved by the conven- 
tion, and seven of the Board shall constitute a quorum. 

(2) A Board of Trustees of Baylor University, to con- 
sist of not more than thirteen. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 410 

(3) A Board of Trustees of Baylor Female College. 

(4) A Board of Trustees of the Baptist General Con- 
vention, to consist of five members, who shall hold in trust all 
properties and invested funds. 

(5) A Ministers' Belief Board of the Baptist General 
Convention, consisting of thirteen members, five of whom 
shall be a quorum. 

Article VI. 

The Board of Directors shall have power to appoint an 
Assistant Superintendent of Missions, to aid the Correspond- 
ing Secretary. 

Article VII. 

The convention shall meet annually at such time and 
place as the convention may appoint, and the Board of Direc- 
tors shall have power to call a meeting of the convention. 

Article VIII. 

This constitution shall not be changed or amended, unless 
the change or amendment be offered on the first day of the 
annual session, and lie over to some subsequent day, and then 
only by a two-thirds majority. 

In Dallas, in 1887, Dr. Burleson was continued on the 
Board of Directors, and also made chairman of the committee, 
and presented a very interesting report on the Colored Popu- 
lation, from which one paragraph is taken : 

"There are at least 70,000 colored Baptists in Texas. 
They have a Baptist State Convention, a Sunday-School Con- 
vention, and about thirty associations. They have also a col- 
lege at Marshall, sustained by the donations of Hon. and Mrs. 
Nathan Bishop of New York and other Northern Baptists. 
Bishop College is doing a noble work in educating the colored 
preachers, teachers and youths of Texas." 

It may be stated in this connection that Dr. Burleson 
was instrumental in founding the college mentioned in his 
report. In 1872, while in New York, he presented the neces- 
sity for an institution of learning for the colored people of 
Texas to Hon. Nathan Bishop, who donated $10,000 toward 

420 The Life axd Writings of 

establishing the school at Marshall, which the Trustees chris- 
tened "Bishop College" in his honor. Mr. Bishop afterward 
increased the amount to $25,000, which insured the success 
of the institution. The American Home Mission Society is 
now extending some aid to the school, which is prosperous in 
all departments. 

In 1889, at Houston, Dr. Burleson was left off the Board 
of Directors, and made one of the Vice-Presidents, and con- 
tinued at the head of the Committee on Colored Population, 
in whose welfare he always evinced great interest. In the 
report submitted at this session of the convention he take.^ 
high ground in favor of Christianizing these people. "To the 
statesmen," he says, "the race problem, or the destiny of the 
colored people, increases daily in importance. But to the 
Christian the salvation of these people involves a responsi- 
bility of transcendant importance. "We rejoice that the glo- 
rious work of evangelizing and educating our colored people 
is advancing rapidly." 

The report closes with a statement of the success of Rev. 
A. R. Griggs, Superintendent of Colored Missions, and the 
prosperous condition of Bishop College at Marshall, Guada- 
lupe College at Seguin, and Hearne Academy at Hearne. 

Dr. Burleson was re-elected to the Vice-Presidency of 
the convention at Waxahachie, October 10th, 1890, and also 
at Waco, October 9th, 1891. At the last-named place, the 
convention being entertained by his home church, he was 
selected to deliver the address of welcome. 

First place in the official rank of the convention was in 
store for him when the seventh annual session of the conven- 
tion was called to order in Belton, October 7th, 1892. He 
was placed before the convention for the Presidency by A. M. 
Johnson in the following model nominating speech, every sen- 
timent of which was re-echoed by the large delegation 
present : 

Brother President : I wish to put in nomination for 
President of the Baptist General Convention of Texas a 
brother who has been in the State a long time, and who, from 
his arrival to this good hour, has been permanently and 
actively connected with the Baptists of Texas. He has never 

Dk. Rufus C. Burlesox. 421 

sought any position which he has filled. He does not now 
seek the honor which I hope this convention will confer upon 
him for his great worth and services. He is not a place-hunter 
nor a time-server. He is a brother, who, by hard work, great 
sacrifice and unwavering trust in God, coupled with loyalty to 
truth and righteous devotion to the highest interest of the 
people, has made a glorious record, which challenges compari- 
son with the brightest and best lives of the ages. His fame 
reaches almost the remotest boimds of civilization, and it 
towers upward to the eternal throne, where it is touched by 
the hand of him who confers eternal honor. He has moulded 
more exalted character and developed more sparkling and 
strong talent for church and State in Texas than any other 
man who has lived and worked by the soft, sweet light of the 
Lone Star. His life and spirit are mighty inspirations to his 
age. He has glorified every interest which has been com- 
mitted to his charge. One of his great sermons is touching 
many of the homes of the civilized nations of the earth and 
molding them into the likeness and beauty of the glorious 
home above. His counsel has always been the embodi- 
ment of love and wisdom. His name is a household word in 
every home in Texas. His coming is everywhere hailed with 
joy. He lives in the hearts of more people than any man on 
this continent. This convention owes him this honor as a 
recompense of reward for a long and eventful life of willing 
and efficient service to the Baptists of this State. He is 
nearing the portals of glory, and ere long he will be beyond 
the reach of human preferment. Let us honor him while we 
may, and thus give expression to our hearty appreciation of 
our greatest leader, whose labors of love have made us all 
better than we would have been without him. I refer, sir, 
to the venerable and renowned Rufus C. Burleson, President 
of Baylor University." 

Immediately on the close of this speech seconds to the 
motion came from every part of the house, and he was elected 
President of the Convention without dissent or negative vote. 

At Gainesville, October the 6th, 1893, the convention 
honored Dr. Burleson the second time by placing him in the 
Presidency. Conducting; the office of a deliberative body 


The Life axd "Writings of 

practically prevents participation in the proceedings, and 
hence Dr. Burleson, except as the presiding officer, disappears 
from the record. 

In 1895, at Belton, Dr. Burleson was placed on the Com- 
mittee on Sabbath Observance. 

Touching this subject, it is remarked that from the 5th 
day of January, 1848, Dr. Burleson has been connected with 
almost every Baptist enterprise projected in Texas. 

From this time on Dr. Burleson's connection with the 
convention was unimportant, except as it related to matters of 
education, which will be given in that relation. 


Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 42 



Dr. Burleson and His School Work at Waco Trinity 
High School, S. G-. O'Brien, First President Waco 
Classical School, J. C. West, President Dr. Bur- 
leson Elected President and Name Changed to Waco 
University Gen. Speight's Letter Dr. Burleson 
Visits Waco April 15, 1861 Accepts the Presidency 
Civil War of 1861 Again Professors and Stu- 
dents Enlist in the Confederate Army Dr. Burle- 
son Chaplain of the Fifteenth Regiment Session of 
1865 Co-Education Resolution of Trustees. 

\AT E NOW take up Dr. Burleson's connection with Waco 
N iii Universitv and its successors, with which this work 
&**$* will be closed. Not because we have included every 
act of his busy life this would fill several volumes but for 
the reason that the main features of our plan have been exe- 
cuted. We shall not give so much detail as was given in 
regard to Baylor University at Independence, for the reason, 
as has been elsewhere intimated, education in Texas at that 
time was in the chrysalis state, and therefore, not only more 
interesting, but also more important by deduction, and in the 
plain lessons it teaches. George Washington's administra- 
tion as President of the United States is much more import- 
ant than Theodore Roosevelt's. Why? Because Washing- 
ton dealt with original principles, and established precedents. 
James Monroe was a much more important and interesting 
character in American politics in announcing the doctrine 
which bears his great name, than Theodore Roosevelt, in ex- 

424 The Life axd Writings of 

plaining what the Monroe Doctrine is, and declaring before 
a listening world that he will enforce the principle. 

We will not be understood as minimizing Dr. Burleson's 
work for higher education in Waco ; far from it, no man has 
accomplished a greater. 

In 1855, Trinity River Association resolved to establish 
an associational male and female school. In 1856 the male 
department of the school was located in Waco, Rev. S. G. 
O'Brien being President, and was called Trinity River High 
School. The Female Department was located in Hillsboro 
but never opened. This school was kept up until February 
2nd, 1860, when it became a chartered institution and known 
as Waco Classical School. The school was conducted for 
several years in the edifice of the Baptist Church at Waco. 
In 1858 seven acres of land eligibly located was purchased, 
and steps taken for the erection of suitable buildings. 

On the 21st of January, 1861, John C. West tendered 
his resignation as principal of Waco Classical School, at which 
time the Board of Trustees authorized its President, Gen. 
Joseph Speight to open correspondence with Rufus C. Burle- 
son and the Faculty of Baylor University at Independence, to 
learn upon what terms they could be induced to take charge 
of the Institution. In executing this commission from the 
Board, General Speight addressed Dr. Burleson the following 
letter : 

Waco, Texas, Feb. 4th, 1861. 
Prof. B. C. Burleson : 

Dear Sir: I am instructed by the Board of Trustees 
of Waco Classical School to inform vou, that vou have been 
by them unanimously elected President of the Faculty of said 
Institution. Your associates selected are Professors R. B. 
Burleson, Vice-President; O. H. Leland, Dr. D. R. Wallace, 
and G. W. Willrich. The decease of Prof. Willrich creates 
a necessity for making another selection to fill the vacancy 
thereby created. Any choice which may be made by the 
remaining members of the Faculty, will be approved by our 
Board, and such choice be formally elected, provided it be 
desired. I am very respectfully, 

President of the Board of Trustees. 

De. Rufus C. Buelesox. 425 

There is an apparent discrepancy between the record and 
General Speight's letter to Dr. Burleson. The record states 
that the President of the Board be instructed to open corre- 
spondence with the Faculty of Baylor University to learn 
upon what terms they could be induced to take charge of 
Waco Classical School. General Speight states in his letter 
of notification that "they had been elected." This dis- 
crepancy is reconciled on the ground that the discussion had 
by the Board on the resolution authorizing the President to 
open negotiations with Dr. Burleson brought out the fact 
that he would be elected if he indicated his willingness to 
accept. So General Speight took this for granted, and sub- 
mitted the matter to Dr. Burleson in a way that would justify 
him in acting. 

This notice was communicated to the members of the 
Faculty at Independence, and after due consideration ac- 
cepted, provided terms, which General Speight did not state 
in his letter, could be agreed on. Dr. Burleson was instructed 
by the Faculty to reply to the letter and learn something of 
the condition and terms upon which they had been elected. 
At a subsequent meeting of the Faculty it was' determined to 
send Dr. Burleson to Waco to confer in person with the Trus- 
tees for the purpose of acquiring this information. 

Dr. Burleson therefore visited Waco April 15th, 1861, 
met the Trustees, stated to them the conditions of his accept- 
ance, and his policy for the government of the Institution. 
In addition to his conference with the members of the Board 
he met the people in a public gathering, and in an address 
gave the essentials of success in an effort to build up a great 
University, and accepted the position to which he had been 

Quite a good deal of enthusiasm characterized the pro- 
ceedings of the meeting, and money was raised to complete the 
brick building that had been in process of erection since 1857; 
and the money also raised to supply the school with a library 
and apparatus. Immediate steps were taken also to raise 
$20,000 endowment Rev. W. H. Bayless was appointed to 
solicit contributions to this fund. 

426 The Life and Writings of 

On -the 28th of August, 1861, the Board decided to 
apply to the State Legislature for an amendment to the char- 
ter of the school; this amendment was granted and Waco 
Classical School was rechristened Waco University, and 
started on its career of usefulness. 

General Beauregard had battered down and captured 
Fort Sumpter April 13th, so when the first session of Waco 
University opened the first Monday in September, 1861, tho 
country was in all the horrors of civil war. All plans for the 
advancement of the school for the time were held in abey- 
ance. The Trustees held a meeting, and resolved to release 
all the professors and students who desired to enter the ser- 
vice of the Confederacy, and to hold the school together in the 
best possible way until the cessation of hostilities. Several of 
the professors and a large number of students enlisted in var- 
ious Confederate commands. On the 27th of May, 1861, 
just before the close of his last term at Independence, Dr. 
Burleson received the following petition: 

"Esteemed Sir : In consideration of the disturbed con- 
dition of the country, and the excitement consequent there- 
upon among both young and old, and the inability of all 
classes, especially the young, to pursue quietly and success- 
fully the ordinary affairs of life, we the undersigned students 
do most respectfully request that you dismiss us from college 
duties. We feel emboldened to make this request from the 
fact that the Faculties of Georgetown and Union Colleges 
under similar circumstances, though of not so pressing a 
nature, have found it necessary to pursue a similar course; 
and believing our request is reasonable, and your action in 
granting it would result beneficially to us, we earnestly request 
a favorable consideration of our petition." 

This petition which was signed by 51 young men whose 
names have been preserved, was granted, and now at the head 
of another school, in a different portion of the state he was 
called on to perform a similar duty in response to the patri- 
otic request of young Texans who wanted to stand in the 
ranks to maintain the constitutional rights of their country. 
The attendance was thus greatly reduced, and the work greatly 
interf erred with; but the Trustees continued to meet, and 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 427 

Dr. Burleson struggled to overcome the untoward circum- 
stances, and accumulating difficulties. Whether upon his 
own application, or whether the authorities acted on their 
own motion the data at hand does not show, but in any case 
he received the following notification: 

Confederate States of America, 
War Department, 
Richmond, Va., Jan. 10th, 1863. 
Rev. B. C. Burleson : 

Sir : You are hereby informed that the President has 
appointed you Chaplain of the Fifteenth Texas Regiment, in 
the Provisional Army in the service of the Confederate 
States, to rank as such from April 18th, 1862. Should the 
Senate at their next session advise and consent thereto, you 
will be commissioned accordingly. Immediately on receipt 
hereof, please communicate to this Department, yoar accept- 
ance or non-acceptance of the appointment through the office 
of Adjutant and Inspector General; and with your letter of 
acceptance, return to the Adjutant and Inspector General the 
oath, herewith enclosed, properly filled up, subscribed and 
attested, reporting at the same time your age, residence, when 
appointed and the state in which you were born. Should you 
accept, you will report for duty to Col. Joseph W. Speight, 
commanding the Fifteenth Regiment. 


Secretary of War. 

The order to report for duty had been anticipated and 
the commission found him in the field with his command. 
The Trustees protested against this action on Dr. Burleson's 
part, arguing that he would render his country greater service 
by instructing the few boys who remained in school. They 
passed a resolution memorializing Col. Speight to accept his 
resignation basing their reasons on the same ground, so after 
serving in the army for nearly one year, he tendered his res- 
ignation and returned to Waco. The Board made a similar 
request of Prof. O. H. Leland who had enlisted in the 
Thirteenth Texas Cavalry October 18th, 1862, and was then 

428 The Life axd Writings of 

Adjutant. Dr. Burleson joined the Board in requesting Prof. 
Leland to return to the University. Upon these importunities 
he handed in his resignation August 28th, 1864. During 
these years the armies of the North and South were in almost 
daily, deadly conflict, and there was nothing in the air, or 
minds of the people save war and military matters. Almost 
every man capable of bearing arms was at the front and those 
under and over age were busy at home organizing Reserve 
Corps. All the schools were converted into military train- 
ing schools for the time being. 

In an old copy of the Houston Telegraph the following 
publication has been found : 

"By a recent order from General Kirby Smith, comman- 
der of the Trans-Mississippi Department, boys from 17 to 18 
years of age are permitted to organize into companies and 
remain in school. A company is now forming at Waco Uni- 
versity, and will be in command of Captain J. T. Daniel, late 
of the Confederate States Army. Boys wishing to avail 
themselves of a year's instruction by an experienced Faculty 
will report at once. R. C. Burleson, President; P. B. Burle- 
son, Professor of Natural Science; J. T. Strother, Professor 
of Mathematics ; W. H. Long, Professor of Ancient and Mod- 
ern Languages; Capt. J. T. Daniel, Assistant Professor and 
Instructor in Military Tactics. 

Waco, Texas, March 15th, 1865. 

This company was formed and was being drilled and 
disciplined and would have furnished some gallant recruits 
to the Southern forces, but just twenty-five days afterward, 
April 9th, General R. E. Lee handed his sword to General 
Grant at Appomattox, and the cause was lost that the Southern 
soldiers had surprised and staggered humanity, in a sanguin- 
ary struggle to sustain. 

The first meeting of the Trustees held after the return 
of peace was on July 19th, 1865. The President made a ver- 
bal statement to the effect that the LTniversity had made some 
progress notwithstanding the disastrous consequences of war. 
The college buildings were in bad condition from long and 

Dr. Kufus C. Burleson. 429 

unavoidable neglect, and no money on hand with which to 
make needed repairs. The vacancies on the Board occasioned 
by deaths were filled, and both Trustees and Faculty resolved 
to raise the Institution from the ashes and ruin of war. 

It was during this meeting of the Board that Dr. Burle- 
son suggested a most radical departure from former plans. 
When he took charge of Baylor University at Independence 
in 1851, he was hostile to co-education and a practical, though 
not a technical separation of male and female students was 
insisted on. Boys, he thought, would never make scholars 
if required to pursue their studies in the same class with girls. 
Fourteen years had elapsed during which time he had devoted 
himself to a study of the subject, which had produced a com- 
plete revulsion in his former position. 

The question was presented to the Board, at a meeting 
held July 19th, 1865, and after a careful, thoughtful discus- 
sion of the subject, the following preamble and resolutions 
were adopted: 

"Whereas, It was the original design and intention of 
the friends of Waco University to provide for the youth of 
both sexes; and 

"Whereas, In the opinion of the Board the time has 
arrived to begin a Female Department, now therefore be it 

"Resolved, By the Board of Trustees of Waco Univer- 
sity, that we believe the enterprise practicable only as com- 
bined with the Male Department, and as such we do resolve 
further to organize a Female Department combined with the 
Male, both to be presided over by the same President and 
taught by the same teachers." 

The attendance during the fall term of 1865, and the 
spring term of 1866, in spite of the demoralizing effects of the 
war, and the impoverished condition of the people, was very 
gratifying. The total matriculations for the last named ses- 
sion was 129; of this number 95 were males and 34 females. 
Co-Education therefore, while it may have made shipwreck 
of some people's opinions, evidently had not been very hurt- 
ful to Waco University. At a meeting of the Trustees held 
on the 15th of June, 1866, Dr. Burleson urged the Board to 

430 The Life and Writings of 

take action at once to provide more commodious buildings 
for the growing school. They therefore : 

''Resolved, That we deem it necessary to raise the sum 
of $15,000 for the purpose of erecting additional buildings, 
and other purposes, and that the Executive Committee, to- 
gether with President Burleson are hereby instructed to adopt 
measures to raise the amount above specified." Rev. C. T. 
Teas, and Thos. F. Lockett were appointed to canvass the State 
for subscriptions to the proposed building fund, R. B. Burle- 
son agent for McLennan County, and Dr. R. C. Burleson to 
solicit in any territory he may visit. The money was raised 
by these agents with some liberal donations, and valuable as- 
sistance from the Trustees, and two well-constructed and 
neatly finished brick buildings 36x60 feet, two stories high 
were erected. These buildings were placed sixty feet apart, 
and according to the original plan were designed, to form 
wings of a splendid three story center building 60x115 feet. 
This plan was never, however, entirely executed. 

Dr. Burleson always used adjectives very freely, and was 
not proverbial for excessive modesty when discussing his plans, 
and the value and importance of the work under his direction, 
but now he speaks modestly and expresses some regret for 
some things that had been done. 

"We adopted," he says, "with reluctance the title of Uni- 
versity. We would have preferred for years to come, the 
name of Waco Academy. And we wish it distinctly under- 
stood that we use the term University, not in the general, but 
in the Texan acceptation; that is an Academy, or High 
School, which its friends hope will become a University." 
Having recovered from his spell of modesty, he speaks on. 
This time he stands up. "We challenge comparison with any 
school in Texas, still we have what Thomas Jefferson called 
a University in ovo. However we assure the people of Texas 
that the Institution is conducted by a Faculty of long ex- 
perience and ardent devotion to the cause of education in 

Dr. Burleson then gives utterance to some wise words 
which should be heard and heeded in Texas through all the 
unnumbered ages to come. "We wish to remind the people 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 431 

of Texas of the fact, that the only way to make the state great 
intellectually, morally, and politically, is to bnild up our own 

"We wish also to remind them of the well-known fact, 
that colleges like states, usually produce their greatest intel- 
lects while young, and struggling for a name and place." 
"'We wish also to remind the people that a young man edu- 
cated in his own state enters life with peculiar opportunities 
for success and happiness; for wherever he goes, he carries 
with him the support and affection of the scores of college- 
mates with whom he attended school." 

For some years Dr. Burleson had been filling the pastor- 
ate of the First Baptist Church at Waco in connection with 
his work in the school room. These duties had so increased 
that proper attention to them required his undivided mind and 
attention. In 1868 he tendered his resignation as pastor of 
the church on this account. 

January 25th of that year the Church, at a conference 
meeting passed a long preamble, and some very complimentary 
resolutions to their pastor on his retirement. One only of 
these resolutions will be sufficient as serving to show past and 
present relations existing between the pastor and members of 
the church : 

"Resolved, Third. That this church will ever feel under 
lasting obligations to our late devoted Pastor for his faithful 
services and unremitting labors, and will ever cherish his 
name living, and revere his memory dead. We will show our 
appreciation of his efforts for our spiritual welfare and ad- 
vancement, by trying to emulate his virtues and to imitate his 
zeal in the Master's cause." 

This action of the church was communicated to Dr. Bur- 
leson in the following letter: 

Waco, Texas, January 25, 1868. 
Elder R . C. Burleson: 

My Dear Brother: It affords me sincere pleasure to 
forward you the accompanying copy of preamble and resolu- 
tions adopted by the Baptist church at Waco at our last stated 
conference meeting. In the sentiments therein expressed 
there is not a dissenting voice. They are the sincere, heartfelt 


The Life and "Writings of 

utterances of your brethren, and are but an inadequate tributs 
to your exalted Christian excellence and superior intellectual 
endowments. Long may you live, my dear brother, to enjoy 
the love and confidence of vour brethren, and to do efficient 
service in the Master's cause. 

Affectionately yours, 


Church Clerk. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 433 


Years that Follow the War, a Crisis in the History of 
all Enterprises People Restless Changing Con- 
ditions Dr. Burleson Quick to Grasp the Situation 
Knew What to Do, and Did It Girded on His 
Armor, Took the Field and Preached, Lectured and 
Wrote Confidence in the Security of Waco In- 
spired Elected President of Sheveport University 
Degree of D. D. Conferred by Howard College 
Dr. Burleson Keeps Track of Old Students Refer- 
ence to the Manner in Which He Marked Cata- 
logues Every Page in His Working Testament 
Marked -Address to the Baptists of Texas. 

* HE depressed and languishing condition of the country 
s - during the years immediately succeeding the war 
J between the states, was a supreme crisis in the history 
of every interest in Texas. During that bloody period services 
in hundreds of churches were suspended and never resumed. 
The doors to innumerable school houses were closed and never 
reopened. Plans for thousands of religious, educational and in- 
dustrial enterprises were formulated that never materialized. 
Church edifices and school buildings decayed and finally fell 
into ruin. Not only this, but a new era dawned on the country. 
The changed conditions as a result of the war, caused a wide 
spread and general remodeling of plans, and this was done with 
a view of present and future requirements, and to fulfill post 
and not ante-bellum promises and plans. Again, while as 
stated the people were bleeding at heart, and the country 


434 The Life axd Writings of 

languishing, they did not lose courage and lapse into a con- 
dition of despair and inactivity, but realized that they could 
only rise from the surrounding desolation by the most heroic 
effort. So, therefore powerful enterprises were projected the 
partial success and promise of some of which changed the 
civilization of the country. The former centers of popula- 
tion in many instances were abandoned, and others formed. 
This in turn produced what at the time was conceded to be a 
necessity for changing the location of many time honored in- 
stitutions. A spirit of restlessness and discontent with ex- 
isting conditions was apparent everywhere, and among all 
classes. We do not claim to know the number exactly, but 
believe the statement to be conservative, that since 1865 
twenty colleges have been abandoned altogether in Texas, 
and the location of not much less than that number changed. 

Dr. Burleson was quick to diagnose the situation, and 
knew that Waco University could only be prevented from 
going down in the "wreck of matter and crush of worlds" by 
exercising ceaseless vigilance and great determination. 

He therefore girded on his armor and took the field. He 
visited the people, distributed thousands of circulars, contri- 
buted hundreds of articles to the Press, and attended hun- 
dreds of associational meetings. He preached, lectured and 
delivered addresses wherever and whenever occasion offered, 
and made as many opportunities as possible. In these public 
addresses he was wise enough to contend that Waco was 
centrally situated, was in line of several of the proposed rail- 
roads, the people enterprising and for these reasons it was 
secure in location and one of the coming cities of Texas. Hav- 
ing succeeded in impressing the masses of the people that 
Waco would stand the shock, survive the ordeal and live, the 
proposition that the location of the University would remain 
at that place was easier to maintain. Confidence was thus 
inspired, some contributions were received, and the patron- 
age increased. The buildings were repaired and added to. 
and the teaching force strengthened. 

There were some fortunate events that occurred about 
this time that aided Dr. Burleson in the campaign for Waco 
University. He had been elected President of Union Uni- 

Dr. Kufus C. Burleson. 435 

versity in 1859 as we have seen, to succeed Dr. Eaton, and 
urged by Dr. J. E. Graves to accept which was a high en- 
dorsement of his qualifications. July 9, 1867, the degree of 
Doctor of Divinity was conferred on him by the Trustees of 
Howard College at Marion, Alabama, of which Dr. J. L. M. 
Curry was President. The following year, June, 1869, he 
was elected President of Shreveport University at Shreveport, 
Louisiana, and pastor of the Baptist church at that place. 
These honors and compliments, and the unqualified endorse- 
ments of sulch renowned scholars as Doctors Graves and 
Curry, were convincing in their effects upon the minds of 
the people that he possessed the ability to accomplish all he 
had undertaken, and were reassuring in the highest degree. 

As a result of Dr. Burleson's efforts, the co-operation of 
the Board of Trustees, and the contributary circumstances 
mentioned, Waco University in 1870, five years after the 
close of the war had a first-class Faculty of eight Professors 
and Instructors, and matriculated 105 female, and 140 male 
students, a total of 245. 

Dr. Burleson now felt sure that the effect of his cam- 
paign for the school had removed any doubts or misgivings 
the people may have entertained as to its permanency, loca- 
tion and success, but as if to clinch the nail he had driven he 
remarks : 

"No institution in Texas rests upon a surer foundation 
than Waco University. Over 1,000 young men in Texas have 
received instructions from the President and Faculty during 
their connection with Baylor and Waco Universities. Many 
of these students have already become Judges, Lawyers, Gen- 
erals, Physicians, Professors and Clergymen; and in every 
part of the state there is an earnest desire for the success of 
the Institution. Its present condition is in every way gratify- 
ing to its friends, and promises a glorious future. Some im- 
portant additions will be made to the Faculty at the opening 
of the next session, especially in the departments of music, 
modern languages and fine arts." 

"The President of the Faculty washes to return his de- 
vout thanks to the people of Texas, who have so liberally pat- 
ronized and sustained him and his associates during the past 

436 The Life and Writings of 

twenty years. He wishes especially to return his acknowl- 
edgments to his old patrons and students who have manifested 
so much interest in an Institution around which cluster all 
his future hopes of usefulness and success. He invites the 
co-operation of all who wish to see Texas become as illustrious 
in learning as she is in arms. He now enters upon the twenty- 
first year of his labors as President, and with increased ex- 
perience and ever accumulating zeal in the glorious mission 
of Christian education, to which he has solemnly consecrated 
his life." 

Xo college President ever lived who valued the friend- 
ship and co-operation of his old students more highly than Dr. 
Burleson; and no college President ever lived who kept in 
closer touch with his old students. He kept informed as to 
where they were, what they were doing, and how they were 
succeeding in life. It is a remarkable statement, and will 
perhaps tax the credulity of the reader, but it is nevertheless 
true, that he knew the financial and moral standing of nearly 
every student who ever attended his school, and knew also 
where they resided. He made it a business to keep himself 
thus informed. If he lost sight of a former student he would 
institute a search until he was located. He has in many in- 
stances written a dozen letters to learn the present where- 
abouts of some obscure man he had educated. When an old 
student met reverses he was the first man to offer condolence 
and sympathy; when he achieved some brilliant success, he 
was first to offer congratulations. 

The catalogues of Baylor and Waco Universities have 
been examined from the first issued at Independence in 1852, 
to the last issued in "Waco in 1897. The list of students he 
studied very carefully, and noted every change made. If one 
died, "dead," was written opposite the name. If one changed 
his place of residence; the former place was erased, and the 
new one given. If they married he knew it, and in nearly 
1,000 cases was called on to perform the ceremony. Page 
after page of nearly every catalogue issued during the entire 
forty-five years is marked from top to bottom with notes of 
such information as would enable him to keep in sight of those 
who had attended his school. 

Dk. Rctfus C. Burlesox. 437 

For this reason the personal relations formed between 
himself and students in the University were never broken. 
These pupils felt a personal love for Dr. Burleson, and some- 
thing of a personal interest in his work. This therefore be- 
came in time a most potent and powerful factor in his success. 

Dr. Burleson not only used the catalogues of his school 
in this way, but he made marginal notes in nearly every book 
he read. If names, dates or places were wrong he made cor- 
rections. These marginal notes were frequently expressions 
as to the impression made on his mind as to the statement or 
principle discussed. This was especially true of the New 
Testament used in his daily scriptural readings, which noth- 
ing interfered with whether at home or abroad. This old 
well worn book has been turned leaf by leaf, and every page 
in it, without one exception is marked; words underscored; 
and on the margin, expressions interpreted, and comments 
made. This was considered a fact of so much interest, that a 
page was lithographed from his working testament, selected at 
random, and will be found on page 67 of this book. 

In 1865 it will be remembered Dr. Burleson made a 
great innovation on established educational systems by in- 
augurating co-education. The success of this departure is well 
known. Seven years after that time he uses the following 
language : 

"We adopted co-education seven years ago after mature 
deliberation. The male and female students now recite in the 
same classes, meet daily in the same chapel, but occupy sepa- 
rate play grounds, buildings for study, and separate boarding- 
houses. The plan not only stimulates both sexes to greater 
study, but it cultivates in young men morality and true manli- 
ness, and in young ladies neatness, order and morality." 

"Frequent intercourse and rivalry in study, by removing 
the enchantment of distance and novelty, destroyes in a great 
degree that foolish sentimentality and clandestine correspon- 
dence so common in boarding schools. After witnessing 
these good results in Waco University during the past seven 
years, we are not surprised to see the Universities of Oxford, 
Cambridge, London, Edinburg, Harvard, Colby and Michi- 
gan, adopting the co-education of the sexes, and are convinced 

438 The Life axd 

Writings of 

w years the example will bt followed by all the i eading 
tions in the Protestant world.- 

in a few 

Dr. Burleson who had been rep enting the Board of 
Trustees for some time, at a meeting ^ | d j^iy 10 1873 
reported that the following amounts for\ he vari(ms p Urpose ^ 
of the University had been raised : 

For Presidential Endowment \ *-.q goo kq 

For young ladies boarding hall g ko'j 74 

Library and apparatus 9 199 aa 

He was continued in the same capacity at this i ^og^o. 
and authorized to employ any number of assistants h a 
proper. His duties as financial agent were still further 1 
larged by being authorized to solicit donations for the purpo. 
of erecting a boarding hall for ministerial students. At dv 
meeting held on July 15, he was requested to issue an appeal 
to the people of Texas setting forth the condition of the school, 
and its pressing necessities. In compliance with this request 
the following circular was issued : 

To the Baptists of Texas : 

Dear Brethren : At the last annual meeting of the 
Trustees, I was requested to address you a circular setting forth 
the condition and wants of Waco University. 

By the blessing of God, Waco University is in a very 
prosperous condition. The institution was never so worthy of 
the patronage of the people, nor so justly the pride of her 
friends and founders. 

During the past year 295 students were matriculated 
the largest number ever matriculated by any Baptist institu- 
tion west of the Mississippi river. Of this number seven are 
licensed preachers, and four others are studying with a view 
to the ministry. K"ine students graduated with honor to them- 
selves and credit to the University. The Faculty embraces 
eleven Professors and Teachers, and is adapted to meet every 
demand of an education practical, classical and ornamental. 
Our departments of Music, Drawing and Painting are now, 
for the first time satisfactory, and unequaled in Texas. 

The new and commodious boarding hall erected for young 
ladies, the new Library donated by !N"ew York and Boston 

Dr. Kufus C. Burleson. 439 

merchants, apparatus, the Microscopes, and Telescope, pro- 
cured through our friends in Louisville, Kentucky, are all in 
valuable use. 

During the last eighteen months, $23,000 have been 
added in pledges, notes, lands, building material and cash to 
the library, apparatus, building, and endowment funds: so that 
Waco University now has $53,000 in pledges, notes, lands, 
library, buildings and endowments. As soon as we can raise, 
by private donations $22,000 the City of Waco will add a 
bonus of $25,000, to increase the sum to $100,000. With 
$100,000, and such a Faculty as we can command, Waco 
University will be an ornament to Texas and a bulwark to 
liberty and progress, and to our venerable church. With such 
a foundation laid we can proceed, as our State increases in 
population and wealth, to add whatever may be necessary for 
a great Texas Baptist University, with literary, law, medical 
and theological departments, all complete. 

All the surroundings are full of glorious promises. The 
city of Waco is within fifteen miles of the geographical center 
of Texas, and is very accessible, and is unsurpassed by any 
city in Texas of equal size for wealth, good society, intelli- 
gence and public enterprise. 

The Trustees representing every part of Texas, are men 
of high social position, and have made their mark on every 
great enterprise in the State. The Faculty is composed of 
instructors each eminent and enthusiastic in his department; 
and for ability and devotion to learning was never surpassed 
in a new institution. The President and Vice-President are 
well known in Texas. They have instructed over 2,000 young 
men and young ladies in Texas, and by twenty-three years of 
success, amid fiery ordeals, they have gained the esteem and 
confidence of all unprejudiced minds. And while disaffected 
and envious men may carp and find fault, the great mass of 
the people boldly say nothing succeeds like success, and twen- 
ty-three years probation, where thousands have failed, is a 
safe guaranty for the future. We matriculated 295 students 
last year, and we have assurances that we will have 400 stu- 
dents next session, thirty-two of whom mil be young men 
preparing fully to preach Jesus. 

440 The Life and "Writings of 

Such, dear brethren, is the condition of "Waco University; 
such is the result of our toils, for twenty-two years to lay the 
foundation of a great Baptist University in Texas. And have 
we not abundant reasons "to thank God and take courage?" 
We can truly say : "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us." 

Our buildings were crowded last session, and cannot 
possibly accommodate over 300, and we must provide for 400 
students thirty-two of whom are called of God to preach. 
We must have. $10,000 cash by Christmas, or suffer serious 
embarrassment. We must have $12,000 more as early as 
possible, added to the endowment fund so as to secure the 
bonus of $25,000 from the city of Waco. We want to erect 
at once a boarding hall for our young preachers similar to 
"Paulding Hall," Georgetown, Kentucky. With such a hall 
our young brethren can board themselves comfortably for 
about $6.00 per month. 

Dear Brethren, are these wants not enough to fire the 
heart and stir the purse nerves of every Baptist in Texas? 
Do you want a great Baptist University in Texas? "We pre- 
sent an institution worth $53,000; we present the fullest and 
ablest Faculty in the south; we present the claims of 400 stu- 
dents, thirty-two of whom are studying for the ministry. 
Every brick, plank, shingle and book in Waco University, is 
by charter secured to the Baptists, as long as the flowers bloom 
on our prairies, or the waves of the Gulf dash on our shores. 
"We want every Baptist in Texas to have a few brick in our 
Paulding Hall; $10.00 will place 1,000 brick in the build- 
ing. Paulding Hall was named for the noble brother who gave 
$10,000 for its erection. Our hall will bear the name of the 
largest donor. We entreat each Baptist, male and female, who 
reads this appeal to ask, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do," 
and if you feel the honor of Texas, the church of Jesus Christ 
will be advanced by founding a great Baptist University in 
the center of the State. Give us vour aid at once. I would 
suggest that each church or neighborhood, if no agent shall 
visit you soon, raise whatever sum you can and send it to us by 
postoffice money order, or draft on Galveston, Houston or 
Dallas. B. H. Carroll, H. E. Puryear, W. G. Caperton, 
Josiah Leak, T. H. Compere, will travel as much as possible 
and urge these claims. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burlesox. 441 

In conclusion, brethren, will you turn a deaf ear, and 
close your purses to our crying' wants \ Will you allow all 
that has been done to suffer I Will you, as Dr. Buckner says, 
grasp at a shadow and lose the substance? Will you starve 
out and scatter one of the ablest Faculties west of the Missis- 
sippi river? Will you desert those who have grown gray in 
your service, and who have spent twenty-two years of earnest 
thought and prayer and toil in the cause of education in Texas ? 
We believe better things of you. We believe our 400 students, 
thirty-two young preachers, our able experienced and devoted 
Faculty, and above all the cause of education in Texas will 
receive an early and liberal response. 


Waco University was now going on from victory to vic- 
tory ; not without some friction at times between the President 
and Board. But all were obviously inclined to do right, and 
misunderstandings were not difficult to adjust. 

On the 26th of July, 1876, the board adopted the plans 
of the present group of magnificent buildings to be erected 
on a larger campus acquired by the Board. Dr. Burleson, 
and some half dozen appointees continued to press the canvass 
for funds, and to keep the Institution before the people as a 
candidate for public favor, patronage and benefactions. 

442 The Life and Writings of 


Reconstruction of the Educational Affairs of Texas 
Baptists Question of Removing the Schools from 
Independence Educational Union Centennial 
Commission ISTavasota Resolutions Dr. Burleson 
Attends American Baptist Educational Commission 
in 1874 Receives the Degree of LL.D. from Keachi 
College Unification Hayden Preamble and Reso- 
lutions at Ennis Issue Joined, Line Drawn, and 
Every Baptist Steps on One Side or the Other 
Baptist State Convention at Lampasas Resolu- 
tions on Removal Committee Appointed Dr. Bur- 
leson's Position Joint Meeting of Committees from 
Convention and Association at Temple Plan of Con- 
solidation Adopted Consolidated University Goes 
to Waco, Female College to Belton. 

HE revolution which started in the educational affairs 
of the Baptists of Texas just after the civil war, was 
at first scarcely perceptible. The men who originated 
it had not been in the State many years, and were anxious for 
front seats. They were scholars and men of a high order <of 
ability and proved themselves to be first class diplomats. But 
so were the men who had been here from the first. If front 
positions were changed, there must be moral and educational 
reconstruction just as there had been political. The Baptist 
mind was soon reached, and new plans had a large following. 
The removal of Baylor University from Independence was 

Dr. Kufus C. Burlesox. 443 

the first step in the moral reconstruction measures proposed. 
After a private canvass for more than a year, a resolution was 
introduced in the Baptist State Convention at Galveston 
October 2, 1869, proposing to remove Baylor University from 
Independence to a more favorable location. The resolution 
was defeated. The debate on it was very warm, and the lead- 
ers of those who favored its passage, characterized the remarks 
of those who opposed its passage as being very bitter. A 
bitter argument is one that defeats your proposition. It was 
thought that the action of the convention at Galveston would 
settle the question, but not so; the agitation was carried on 
with more earnestness, but was given a different tinge. In 
1868 the American Baptist Educational Commission was 
formed in the North and East, which under the influence of 
Dr. Sewell S. Cutting the Secretary, an eminent scholar, 
professor and editor, was merged into the Centennial Com- 
mission in 1874. Dr. Burleson attended the meeting held in 
that year in the interest of Texas, and consented to represent 
the movement in the State. Dr. Burleson's attendance on 
that meeting was very fortunate. When he returned, he was 
of. the opinion that if the Commission proposed to do any 
great things for education in Texas, Waco would be a good 
place to start, especially since Waco University offered a good 
foundation upon which to build an educational structure of 
any desired proportions. 

The national movement was discussed in Texas, and a 
meeting called at Bremond, June 23, 1875, to devise some 
plan upon which the movement could be utilized in the State. 

This meeting was held. The discussion took a wide range. 
Several plans were proposed. Nothing was said about tho 
school at Waco. Dr. Burleson was there, and while he took 
an active part in the discussion, he had his ear to the ground, 
and Waco in his mind. An agreement was reached to which 
he affixed his name, but in that document Waco University 
was not compromised. The next meeting was to be held in 
Sherman, but the plan dragged, and the meeting failed for 
want of a quorum. The commission held frequent meetings 
after that time, and succeeded in raising quite a respectable 
sum of money under the financial direction of Dr. F. M. Law. 

444 The Life and Writings of 

In all of its career, the Commission advocated the removal of 
Baylor University from Independence, and discussed a higher 
Institution of learning for the Baptists, but it finally disap- 

On the 25th of April, 1ST6, the educational affairs of 
Texas Baptists took, or rather attempted to take an unex- 
pected turn. A remarkable meeting was held at that time in 
Xavasota. Little or nothing was heard of the plan here 
adopted until it was announced. The meeting was called to 
order in a private house at 7 o'clock p. m. and continued in 
session through the greater portion of the night. Drs. R. C. 
Burleson, B. H. Carroll and R. C. Buckner represented Waco 
University. Dr. Wm. Carey Crane, Reddin Andrews and J. 
S. Terrell, Bavlor University: J. B. Link and F. M. Law for 
the Baptist Educational Union. 

The purpose of this meeting as stated by Dr. Burleson, 
was to formulate a plan of united action to be presented for 
adoption at a meeting called by the American Baptist Cen- 
tennial Commission at Bremond, Texas, April 25, 1876. This 
meeting was not only remarkable in its manner of coming 
together, but more remarkable in the unexpected conclusions 
reached. By some of those present it was said to be one of the 
most earnest assemblages ever held in the State. After a con- 
tinuous session of ten hours, during which the educational 
affairs, enterprises and institutions of the denomination were 
exhaustively discussed, from the meeting at Plum Creek in 
1840 until that time, the following basis was unanimously 
concurred in and signed : 

"We, the undersigned, in order to harmony, express it 
as our sense and agree : 

First That we have but one University for the State 
of Texas, to be established under the following agreement: 

Second That a session of the Boards of Trustees of Bay- 
lor and Waco Universities, and the Educational Union be 
called to meet in Bremond on the 23rd of June, 1876. 

Third That Baylor and Waco Universities be known as 
Baylor University, with its Theological Department and High 
School at Independence, and with its Literary and other De- 
partments at Waco, and under control of their respective 

Dk. Rufus C. Buklesox. 445 

Fourth That a Central Committee be appointed to 
raise an endowment of $300,000, or such sum as shall be 
agreed upon, but not less than $200,000 to establish the Uni- 
versity which shall be agreed on for the entire State, and lo- 
cated by the donors, eligibility and bonus guiding the loca- 
tion, on the basis of one vote each $100 contributed; provided 
that no individual have more than ten votes. 

Fifth That the Educational Union turn over its assets 
to the Central Centennial Committee and dissolve its organ- 

Sixth That the first $25,000 raised shall be regarded as 
belonging to the endowment of the Theological Department of 
Baylor University at Independence, and that whatever in- 
terest may be collected on the remaining sum, shall go to the 
Literary Department of Baylor University at Waco, until the 
location of the one University is effected and the school 

Seventh That when the proposed Institution shall be 
located, its Trustees shall be elected by the Baptist State Con- 
vention and General Association of Texas. 

F. M. LAW, 
J. B. LINK, 


Another remarkable thing about this agreement was, that 
notwithstanding the plan was adopted without dissent as being 
the wisest that could be devised, no one could be found to pre- 
sent it to the meeting at Bremond. Dr. Burleson was among 
the first to renounce it, and characterized it as a "bantling." 

This was strange, since Drs. Burleson, Carroll and Buck- 
ner gained almost every point for Waco contended for in the 
meeting at Navasota. This plan did not strike those interested 
not even the men who devised it on mature reflection, and 
nothing more was heard of it. 

446 The Life and Writings of 

It is doubtful whether any question was ever considered 
by the people of Texas in as many forms as the reconstruction 
of Baptist Educational affairs. First it was the removal of 
Baylor University and Baylor Female College from Indepen- 
dence. Then the Educational Union; next Centennial Com- 
mission ; next the Navasota scheme. All these failed and were 
followed by the plan of unification and consolidation.- This 
touched the Sunday School Conventions of the State Conven- 
tion, and General Association in Houston in 1855, then all the 
General bodies in the same year as noticed in giving Dr. Bur- 
leson's connection with them. But the movement met with so 
much favor that it was destined to reach other interests, and 
settle other important questions, the settlement of which had 
been sought to be effected by indirection. 

At a largely attended session of the General Association 
held in Ennis on the 24th of July, 1885, Dr. S. A. Hayden 
gave the question tangible form, dignity and at the same time 
responsibility, by the introduction of the following preamble 
and resolutions : 

Whereas, The Baptists of Texas, led, as we believe by 
the Spirit of God, are seeking some practical basis of fraternal 
union, and 

Whereas, We believe the prayer of Christ, that His 
people "might all be one," is destined to a complete fulfill- 
ment, and, 

Whereas, Institutions of learning are powerful agen- 
cies for good or evil, as they are directed by Christian or anti- 
'Christian influences, and, 

Whereas, We can only hope to educate our youth by 
providing facilities for attaining knowledge equal to the secu- 
lar institutions of the country, and, 

Whereas, The securement of the perfect accord of our 
people in Texas, centers largely upon our educational interests ; 

Resolved, 1. That in order to remove anv obstacle that 
may be in the way of our future concert of action in advanc- 
ing the Baptist cause in Texas, it is, in our judgment, desirable, 
that all our denominational institutions of learning in Texas, 
be united into one Baptist State University. 

Dr. Ruftjs C. Burleson. 447 

Resolved, 2. That we, the Baptist General Association 
of Texas, pledge ourselves to meet any proposition looking to 
such consolidation of schools upon principles of fairness and 

Resolved, 3. We believe that we do but express the senti- 
ment of the great Baptist family of Texas, as well as provide 
for the best interests of the proposed consolidated University 
in making it a condition of such consolidation that Rufus C. 
Burleson, D. D., LL. D., the only survivor of the great men 
who have laid the foundation of Baptist education in Texas, 
and who has spent his entire life in that work, be made the 
Chancellor for life of the said consolidated University with 
adequate salary. 

We believe also that we do but voice the sentiment of 
all the Baptists of Texas, in suggesting that the proposed con- 
solidated University bear the honored name of R. E. B. 

Resolved, further, That we hereby appoint L. L. Foster, 
President of this body, S. L. Morris and Henry Urn-man a 
committee to visit the State Convention at Lampasas and in- 
form that body of the action of this Association. 

That in the event a consolidation of the schools shall not 
be acceptable to the Convention, then we request the Board 
of Trustees of Waco University to select some suitable site on 
the hills near Waco for the permanent establishment of Waco 
University, and we pledge ourselves to use our best energies 
to raise within the next five years an endowment of $500,000, 
for said University, and do all in our power to secure for the 
, youth of Texas a Baptist University worthy of the name. 

It is understood that nothing in these resolutions shall be 
construed to suspend any plan of collecting endowment notes, 
or securing pledges that the Board may deem expedient. 

Resolved, That nothing in the reports adopted at this 
meeting shall be construed as being in conflict with these reso- 
lutions. The above and forgoing were adopted as the senti- 
ment of the Association. It was suggested that the convention 
might construe some of the expressions as threatening in char- 
acter, and to avoid any such misapprehension Dr. Hayden 
offered the following resolution clearly disclaiming any such 
intention or spirit : 

448 The Life and Writings of 

"Whereas, It has been said that the resolutions passed 
by this body, proposing a union of our denominational schools 
in Texas, contain a threat to the State Convention if they 
reject the proposition. Therefore, 

Resolved, That the intention of the resolution referred 
to, was to assure the friends of Waco University that there 
was no design to injure that institution, but to guarantee it 
against any loss that might arise from delay in collecting the 
endowment, and the conditions are not intended to dictate to 
the convention." 

As an assurance that the General Association sought no 
advantage, in case the proposition was entertained with favor 
by the convention, R. T. Hanks offered a resolution which 
was intended to forestall any objection of this kind : 

Resolved, That the committee to the State Convention 
go uninstructed as to the details of consolidation, and that 
they do not incorporate in their communication to that body 
any of the resolutions except those on the main point of con- 

The issue of removal, unification and consolidation was by 
the Hayden resolutions fairly joined. The line was drawn and 
Baptists stepped to one side or the other. And not only Bap- 
tists, but many who were not in affiliation with this denomina- 
tion entered the arena. The success of unification, meant the 
removal of the schools from Independence, this was evident. 
Those, therefore, who opposed their removal, were hostile to 
the movement. The resolutions were passed by the Associa- 
tion last of July. The convention did not convene until 3rd 
of October; this gave the people two months in which to dis- 
cuss the question. 

Dr. Burleson had very little to say on the subject. He 
was urged to express himself, but declined to say more than 
""if they decided to remove Baylor University from Independ- 
ence, Waco University stands ready to furnish her elder sister 
with shelter and protection." 

The Baptist State Convention met in Lampasas October 
3, 1885, and the burning question in the mind of every dele- 
gate present was removal and consolidation. Both sides held 
frequent caucuses, to decide upon offensive and defensive 

Dr. Kufus C Burleson. 440 

The question was brought before the body by G. AY. 
Smith, who introduced the following resolution : 

Whereas, The General Association has appointed a com- 
mittee to confer with this body on the subject of the consoli- 
dation of our educational interests. Therefore, be it 

"Resolved, That this body appoint a committee to confer 
with the one appointed by the General Association on this 
subject, and report to this body.'' 

The committee of the Convention to treat with committee 
from the Association having been thus provided for. A. W. 
Dunn offered this resolution : 

Whereas, There has been much agitation in the bounds 
of this convention on the subject of the removal of Baylor 
University from Independence, therefore, 

Resolved, That this matter be placed before the conven- 
tion for the action of this body on the question." This resolu- 
tion passed, but failed in its purpose to bring up the question 
for general discussion on the floor. The matter had been re- 
ferred to a large special committee and its decision was 

This committee met and took up the vexed issue. The 
meeting was prolonged far into the night. The debate was 
earnest and powerful. It was apparent, however, from the 
very beginning that those who favored retaining the schools 
at Independence were in a hopeless minority, and however 
earnest they might be, their cause was lost. The report recom- 
mending removal was finally agreed to, presented to the con- 
vention and adopted. Its provisions are set forth in the fol- 
lowing : 

"Your Committee on the removal of the Baylor Univer- 
sity and Baylor Female College from Independence, beg leave 
to report that we have had the matter under advisement, and, 
in our opinion, for various reasons which appear to us good and 
sufficient, the time has fully come when these Institutions of 
learning should be removed to some more eligible place in the 
State, and we therefore recommend that this be done. 

"We further recommend that a committee of fifteen be 
appointed to take charge of this whole matter of removal and 
location, and all questions that may arise pertaining thereto, 


450 The Life and Writings of 

including consolidation, etc., in conjunction with, the Boards 
of Trustees of the two schools, and that they take at once such 
steps as may be necessary to the earliest practicable accom- 
lishment of this important work. 

"And, further, that the schools remain at Independence 
at least this year; but, in our opinion, if practicable, the place 
should be selected and in readiness for the opening of the 
schools at the new location, or locations, by September, 1886. 

"Further, we recommend that the present building, 
grounds, libraries, apparatus and furniture be tendered to the 
Union Association for educational purposes, and maintained 
at Independence, and that the endowment already raised be 
subject to the mil of the donors to remain with the schools 
at Independence, or be carried with the University and Col- 
lege to the new location, as each donor may elect. Any en- 
dowment, the owners of which are dead, shall be left with the 
schools at Independence.. 



J. B. LINK, 



A. W. DUNN, 



A. W. McIVER, 






The report of the special committee having been pre- 
sented to the convention and adopted, the following formal 
reply to the committee from the General Association was 
made, which also refers all detail of consolidation to the joint 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 451 

Report on Consolidation oe Schools. 

Your Committee on Consolidation of Educational inter- 
ests of the Baptists of Texas, Leg leave to report that it is the 
sense of this Convention, that the consolidation of our Institu- 
tions of learning is desirable, and that we will consider any 
proposition that may be presented on the basis of fairness and 
equality to all parties interested, and we recommend the refer- 
ence of this question to the committee of fifteen already ap- 
pointed in connection Avith the Boards of Trustees of Baylor 
University and Baylor Female College. 

A. W. DUNK, Chairman. 

The committee of fifteen provided for in the foregoing 
report was appointed by the President of the convention. 
The location of the consolidated school was the question of 
most interest that remained opened. As a friend of Waco, 
and the school at the place the time for Dr. Burleson to speak 
had come. The Waco correspondent of the Galveston-Dallas 
News, sought and obtained from him an expression of his 
views which is here appended : 

Dr. Burleson's Consolidation Views. 

In view of the general interest in the approaching con- 
ference of the two committees to which have been referred 
the question of the location of the consolidated Universities of 
Baylor and Waco, a representative of The News called upon 
Dr. Burleson, of Waco University, for his views on the sub- 
ject. The result of the interview, divested of pleasant pre- 
liminaries, is annexed : 

"What are you views of the consolidation of Waco and 
Baylor Universities ?" 

''This is a very delicate and important subject, and all 
expressions of mine liable to misconstruction, especially as the 
general association at Ennis proposed to make me president 
or chancellor for life of the consolidated institution. But, 
during a public life of forty-five years, I have ever been frank 
and fearless. I will state that I wanted Baylor University, 
with her noble board of trustees and useful record of forty 
years, to remain at Independence and carry out the grand in- 

1:52 The Life and Whitings of 

I rations of her founders. I gave ten years of the best of my 
life to Baylor University, and though often misunderstood and 
wronged by some, -die has ever been dear to my heart, and her 
decline and removal is a profound sorrow to me. But the 
Baptist State Convention and her noble trustees have resolved 
to remove Baylor to some point in Central Texas. And as two 
Baptist Universities in the same section of the State would be 
a calamity and result in greater friction and final failure, I 
feel the union of the two universities would be for the good 
of the Baptists and people of Texas. Provided always that it 
can be done on principles of "perfect fairness and equality 
to all." It must not be as some have said the whale swallowing 
Jonah, but the loving union for life of two hearts and hands 
and destinies. Such a consolidation would not only prevent 
the calamity of two Baptist institutions in the same vicinity, 
but would save Baylor University much of the fearful loss al- 
ways attending the removal of a university to a new location. 
All the early alumni, her Breedloves, her Densons, her Har- 
rises, her Pasehals, her Parks, her Browns, her Carrolls and 
scores of others, graduated under my presidency, and to join 
their old president at Waco under the honored name of Baylor 
University, with her trustees and faculty and alumni, would 
T>e only like a parted stream meeting and mingling its waters 
:as of old. It would be uniting the whole great family.*' 

"Do you think the two universities will be united ?" 

"It will be almost a miracle if thev are. There are diffi- 
culties and causes of misapprehensions and local and personal 
interests almost insurmountable. In the first place, Baylor 
University is fifteen years older and will feel entitled to prece- 
dence in selecting the location when consolidated. In the 
next place, the faculty and trustees of Waco University and 
the General Association are under peculiar and honorable 
pledges to the people of Waco to stay in Waco. There are at 
least forty good men who came to Waco, saying to me, "We 
want to settle near a permanent institution; are you perma- 
nently located in Waco?" And on my assurance they have 
sold their homes and bought $200,000 worth of property and 
-t'Ttled in Waco. There are also 180 noble young men and 
ladies who have irraduated in Waco University under mv 

Dr. Rufus C.Burleson. \~>'-> 

often repeated assurance that Waco University was a fixture 
and a success. Still more, twenty-five years ago, just as Fort 
Sumpter was battered down, we pledged the citizens of Waco,, 
if they would furnish us the grounds and buildings as we 
needed them, the Baptists abroad Would furnish the endow- 
ment, and we would build up a great and permanent univer- 
sity in Waco. The General Association repeated this solemn 
pledge in 1883, and if the citizens have not furnished us such 
luiildings as we needed, it is because the Baptists abroad have 
not furnished the endowment, as promised. They are ready 
to-day to redeem their pledge, if we will do our part, so our 
best men say. Now, it would be infamous on the Baptists,, 
and especially the General Association and me, to falsify all 
these promises to the good friends who have inve-ted their all 
here on our assurance, and doubly so to the 180 noble young 
men and ladies who have graduated, and to the scores and 
hundreds who have been educated here under our pledge of 
permanency, and, lastly, to the citizens of Waco, who say they 
are ready to cany out their pledges if we will ours. Now will 
we not commit a three-fold crime to desert Waco if Waco will 
do as well for the consolidated university as any other town or 
city in Texas? And, besides all this, every profound educa- 
tor knows that every graduate is worth to his alma mater, on 
the lowest average, $1,000, some being worth $25,000 to 
$50,000. Now, Waco University has a good endowment 
of at least $70,000; she has in lots, lands, buildings and 
a building fund of $45,000 or $50,000, and an alumni 
worth at lowest average $180,000. Some of the papers 
have asked why it is that Waco Universitv has nearlv 
as many students as the State University and the A. and M. 
College both combined, with their millions of public money 
in costly buildings and endowment. Here is one of the grand 
secrets of our success. Our noble sons and daughters, in 
every part of this Empire State, are giving, and toiling, and 
praying, for the success of their alma mater. Now, will it be 
'just, and fair and wise' to require Waco University to falsify 
all her pledges, to scatter her prestige of twenty-five years' 
success, for some new and untried place where we will have to 
toil twenty-five years to gain what we have in Waco? 

454 The Life and Writings of 

"From all these facts it will be seen how many difficul- 
ties surround us. Some will clamor that Waco University 
wants to dictate to our elder and well beloved sister. Far 
otherwise. We only ask not to be required to violate our sol- 
emn promises and scatter the hard-earned toils of twenty-five 
years merely for some other place which has not borne the heat 
and burden of the day, and comes in at the eleventh hour and 
fiftieth minute to get the loaves and fishes. But remember 
that all this is- based on the supposition that Waco will do as 
much for the consolidated university as any other place in 
Texas. But if she doesn't, we are at liberty to go elsewhere.'' 

The remainder of the story of Texas Baptist unification 
and consolidation need not be long. The plan of uniting the 
two general missionary bodies has been given. Substantially 
the same plan was pursued in reference to the universities. A 
special session of the General Association was held in Dallas 
November 25th, 1885, and appointed a committee to act with 
the convention committee, appointed at Lampasas, October 
the 3d. Both committees were invested with plenary power, 
the action had was final, and they, therefore, had nothing to 
report back to their respective bodies. 

The Boards of Trustees of the institutions at Waco and 
Independence held special meetings and passed resolutions of 
acquiescence in the action of the State Convention and Gen- 
eral Association in deciding to unite the schools. 

The discussion of the subject had been carried on for 
years; a half dozen plans had been proposed and rejected. A 
score of meetings had been held and 'failed in their purpose. 
The denomination realized that something must be done, but 
did not seem to know how to proceed. They were feeling 
around in the dark. 

But now the plans proposed met with almost universal 
acceptance, the culmination of affairs was rapid and without 

The committees held a joint session in Temple December 
the 9th, 1885, and organized by electing R. T. Hanks chair- 

The battle of San Jacinto, which resulted in the estab- 
lishment of Texas freedom from Mexican thraldom, wa3 

Dk. Rufus C. Burleson. 455 

fought in eighteen minutes. So the history-making proceed- 
ings of the joint committee were short. It was no time for 
pyrotechnical display. The joint committee appointed a sub- 
committee, composed of C. R. Breedlove, B. H. Carroll, J. B. 
Link, M. V. Smith, B. J. Sledge, F. M. Low, L. L. Foster, B. 
C. Burleson, J. L. Whittle and W. B. Denson, who formu- 
lated the following basis of consolidation : 

1. That Waco and Baylor Universities be consolidated. 
2. The name of the school shall be Baylor University. 3. 
That Baylor University be located at Waco; and we further 
agree that the Female Department be continued there as it 
now exists; provided that Waco gives a bonus, (a) The old 
buildings and grounds of Waco University; (b) the $60,000 
already secured for an endowment; (c) $45,000 additional 
building fund; (d) twenty acres of ground for a building site 
for the University; provided, further, that at the expiration of 
ten years the continuance of the system of co-education at 
Waco be determined by a majority of the consolidated body, 
to which the institution, with its funds and property, shall 
belong. 4. That as very many Baptists oppose co-educa- 
tion that Baylor Female College be located at some other cen- 
tral point, the place where located to give a bonus of at least 
suitable grounds and buildings; and that Baylor Female Col- 
lege, thus located, be also the property of the consolidated 
General Body. 5. That the endowment of the present Bav- 
lor University go to Waco with the new Baylor University, 
according to the terms agreed upon by the State Convention, 
and published in these minutes. 6. That the act of locating 
Baylor Female College be referred to the following persons: 
F. M. Law, A. W. Dunn, H. W. Waters, C. R. Breedlove, G. 
W. Capps, J. B. Link, R. J. Sledge, R. Andrews, O. H. P. 
Garrett, M. V. Smith, G. W. Breedlove, Hosea Garrett, A. 
W. Mclver, Wm. Howard, J. H. Stribling, S. A. Beachamp, 
W. R. Maxwell, C. C. Garrett and S. F. Styles." 

The public-spirited citizens of Waco met all the require- 
ments of the committee, and secured the consolidated uni- 
versity; and Baylor Female College was removed from Inde- 
pendence and located at Belton. 


The Life axd "Weitixgs of 

The Trustees of their respective schools met soon there- 
after and acquiesced in the action of the joint committee, and 
thus ended a controversy that had heen going on among Texas 
Baptists, in changing form, for twenty years. 

The settlement gave Texas Baptists the university at 
Waco, the peer of any in all the States, and Baylor Female 
College, which has heen denominated the "Vassar of the 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 45 



Results of Baptist Educational Reconstruction in Texas 
First Session of the Consolidated School Dr. 
Burleson's Remarks Transfer of Property of 
Waco University Gen. Speight, President, and W. 
H. Jenkins, Secretary, of the Old Board Their 
Faithfulness B. H. Carroll, President of the New 
Board His First Report to the Convention New 
College Campus Purchased, and New Buildings 
Erected In 1893 All Debts Paid Co-Education 
Readopted After Ten Years' Trial Dr. Burleson 
a Hard Worker In Baylor, His Rosiest Dream 
Realized Exposure in Early Days in Texas Ad- 
vanced in Life Elected President Emeritus on Full 
Pay His Letter of Acceptance Trustees Kneel, 
Dr. Burleson Leads in Prayer Public Ca- 
reer Closes in a Spirit of Human Magnanimity, and 
Flow of Christian Fellowship and Love. 


R. BURLESON, it will be seen, came out of the tur- 
moil and confusion of the period of Baptist educa- 
tional reconstruction in Texas with nearly every- 
thing he had contended for. The school over which he pre- 
sided was retained at Waco, his contention for co-education 
was sustained, and he was continued in the Presidency. He 
claimed no part of the brilliant victory won in the contest: 
that was left for the historian, and to be settled by a verdict of 
the people, which has been rendered in his favor. In all his 

458 The Life and Writings of 

struggles for higher education in Texas, covering a period of 
forty-seven years and in his efforts to retain the University at 
Waco, he had the valuable help of mighty men, to whom 
Waco and Texas are under lasting obligations, which should 
never be forgotten. But the verdict of the people is that 
Dr. Burleson deserved more credit for raising Baylor Univer- 
sity to its present high standard than any one man, either 
living or dead. All effort, should such be made, to displace 
him from his hard-earned position in history will prove to be 
as fruitless as an effort to dislodge the sun from his eternal 
resting place. 

The first session of the consolidated University opened 
September the 20th, 1886. 

All the departments of a first-class university were pro- 
vided for. 

There were 215 male and 122 female students matricu- 
lated the first session, a total of 337. This was increased in 
1877 to 479. In opening the first session after consolida- 
tion, Dr. Burleson, in his address, remarked in part as follows : 

Future of Baylor- Waco University. 

Henceforth Waco University will be known as Baylor 
University. By the terms of consolidation, adopted by 
eighty representative men from every part of Texas, assembled 
at Temple, December 10, 1885, it was agreed that Baylor 
University, chartered in 1845, should be united with the 
Waco University, chartered in 1861, under the venerated 
name of Baylor University, to be located at Waco. The 
$76,000 endowment of Baylor and $60,00 of Waco, and the 
faculties and Boards of Trustees consolidated and all placed 
under the control of the Texas Baptist General Convention, 
to be co-extensive with the whole State. 

It was also agreed that the endowment be increased to 
$500,000, active available funds, and not as heretofore, "on 

Never before has there been so much union in our educa- 
tional work. The 180,000 Baptists of Texas are vigorously 
at work to make Baylor University, at Waco, the peer of any 
university on the planet. In this grand work every Baptist 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 459 

has a part. We need alike the thousands of the rich, and the 
tens and hundreds of those not rich. We want every widow 
in Texas to have at least a "mite" in this work, that will 
increase and shine with increasing splendors for at least a thou- 
sand years to come. But so grand a work cannot be accom- 
plished by good wishes and high-sounding resolutions. While 
nothing succeeds like success, yet success will end in failure, 
unless pushed on to a grander success. 

Indeed, great successes are always fraught with ruin 
without increased vigilance, toil and prayer. And while no 
institution in Texas has such glorious prospects as Baylor- 
Waco University gathering around it the glorious history, 
the splendid success yet without untiring energy and pru- 
dence all may yet be wrecked. We, therefore, call every 
Baptist and friend of Christian education in Texas to increased 
zeal and activity and prayer for the speedy consummation of 
this glorious end. 

The following year, March 14th, 1887, the Board of 
Trustees of Waco University met, when they proceeded to 
comply with the requirements of the Temple Committee. 
There were present J. S. Allen, M. D. Herring, John L. Dyer, 
H. C. Burleson, J. M. Anderson, M. H. Standifer, James B. 
Baker and Warwick H. Jenkins. The meeting was held in 
the basement of the First Baptist Church. The President of 
the Board being absent, J. S. Allen presided. The object of 
the meeting was stated to be as follows : 

"The Baylor University at Waco is now fully organized 
under its new charter. Under the agreement made and 
entered into at Temple, this corporation was to turn over to 
the new University, if located at Waco, all of its property of 
every kind. The new University has been so located, and 
this meeting is called to take action in reference to the trans- 
fer of the property to the new University." 

The following resolution was then offered and unani- 
mously adopted : 

Whereas, The Baptist denomination of Texas has 
located the Baptist University, under the name of Baylor 
University, at Waco, Texas, in the City of Waco; and 

Whereas, The location of said University is in pursuance 

460 The Life and Writings of 

of an agreement made and entered into on the 9tli day of 
December, 1885, in Temple, a part of which was that the 
Board, in consideration of said location in Waco, should con- 
vey to the new University, when so located, all of its assets- 
of every kind, including lands, buildings, endowment, library,, 
apparatus, money, stocks, rights, credits and chose in action; 
now, therefore, in consideration of the foregoing, and for the 
further consideration that said corporation, Baylor University, 
at Waco, Texas, has assumed and agreed to pay off and dis- 
charge all the obligations of this corporations; 

Resolved, That this corporation, the Waco University, do 
by deed, duly executed, transfer and convey to said Board of 
Trustees of Baylor University, at Waco, Texas, all of its prop- 
erty of every kind, as aforesaid. 

On motion, the Board then adjourned subject to the call 
of the chair. 

W. H. JE^KESTS, Secretary. 

On the 2 2d of May a resolution was passed authorizing 
General Joseph W. Speight, President of the Board, to make 
the transfer, as provided in the resolution of Hay 14th. 

The last meeting held by the Board of Trustees of Waco 
University was on June 7th, 1887. 

From June 22d, 1878, to June the 17th, 1887, the pro- 
ceedings were recorded by Judge Warwick H. Jenkins, the 
Secretary. The minutes were most excellently kept. Judge 
Jenkins did not miss a single session of the Board during these 
nine years, and his characteristic signature is affixed to the 
minutes of every meeting held. 

General Joseph W. Speight presided over the first meet- 
ing, held on the 21st of January, 1861, and he also presided 
over the last meeting, held on June 7th, 1887. During these- 
twenty years, when he was marked absent, which was only a 
few times, this explanation was recorded by the Secretary: 
"The President absent, on account of sickness." ~No wonder 
that Dr. Burleson was so fond of using the expression, "cease- 
less," when his friends were so ceaseless in their attention; and 
no wonder he succeeded, with supporters so loyal to duty. 

The mission of the Board having been accomplished, its 
business was closed "in decency and in order," and the old 

Dk. Rufus C. Burlesox. 461 

record, like its predecessor at Independence, was rolled back, 
to take its place among the deathless, but silent, annals of the 

Dr. B. H. Carroll, of Waco, succeeded General Speight 
to the Presidency of the Board after consolidation had been 
consummated in 18S7, and in 1902 is still incumbent. In 
his first annual report as President of the Board, made at a ses- 
sion of the Baptist General Convention, held in Dallas, Sep- 
tember 29th, 1887, Dr. Carroll gives an itemized statement 
of the condition of the old endowment fund, the operations of 
the Financial Agent for the year, and states what has been and 
is being done in the way of providing the needed buildings. 

"The central building, 120x8-4 feet and three stories high, 
is complete and occupied. The female boarding house, 184 
x84 feet and three stories high, is so nearly completed that it 
may be occupied in about two weeks. The bill of furniture 
for twelve large recitation rooms and the chapel of the central 
building (only two stories) aggregate $2,600. For sixty-six 
rooms of the boarding department, exclusive of parlor, dining 
hall and kitchen, the aggregate is $3,300. 

"The buildings are magnificent in appearance and exceed 
any we know anything about west of the Mississippi River. 
They are built of brick, with stone finish. They are at present 
warmed with coal stoves. The new term opened with a com- 
plete faculty of teachers. "We close our report with the fol- 
lowing recommendations : 

1. That an opportunity be immediately granted for 
securing amounts to pay for the furniture herein specified. 

2. That a larger number of the Board of Trustees be 
selected from Waco and its vicinity, so as to secure a quorum 
for business. 

At Houston, in 1889, Dr. Carroll's report was brief, but 
gives a correct conception of the progress made and condition 
of the University : 

"We commence the new year with twenty-four profes- 
sors and teachers, and have already, though so early in the 
collegiate year, matriculated 412 students. We have now 
sixty-two young ladies in the Boarding Hall, directly under 
the supervision of Dr. and Mrs. Burleson. There are some 

462 The Life and Writings of 

other young lady boarders with their relatives in private 
houses, besides the resident female patronage. 

"The Maggie Houston Boarding Hall and the homes of 
the professors and many eligible and convenient residences of 
other families, are crowded with young men from over Texas 
and other States. The spirit of the school is admirable." 

No man in Texas was more gratified, no man, it may be 
said, was or had been in position to be more gratified, over the 
success of the University than Dr. Burleson. He had led it in 
the wilderness of Texas when a toddling educational infant on 
down to its present stately proportions reported to the conven- 
tion by the President of the Board of Trustees. Neither 
Wellington, at Waterloo, nor Houston, at San Jacinto, 
achieved a greater victory than he. 

In 1893, at Gainesville, during Dr. Burleson's second 
term as President, President Carroll, after a canvass ot two 
years, not only made glad the heart of Dr. Burleson, but of 
every Baptist in the State, and it may be said also of every 
friend of Texas education, by the following statement : 

"We announce to you that the great debt so long crush- 
ing and crippling us, has been lifted off Baylor University. 
There is not a vestige of mortgage or obligation of any kind 
now holding against our new buildings and grounds. They 
are free forever. It is true that some debt attaches to the 
outside property, which would have been paid if the time had 
been favorable to the sale of that property. You will recall 
the proposition of the Trustees, that if the Baptists of the 
State, outside of Waco,, would pay $25,000, by a given date, 
they (the Trustees), by utilizing outside assets and by their 
own contributions, would pay the whole debt." 

The ten years having expired, the time insisted on by Dr. 
Burleson, and fixed by the Consolidation Committee at Tem- 
ple, in which to test co-education in the University at Waco, 
it was continued by the convention in Houston in 1896, and 
adopted as a policy of the school.This was a compliment to Dr. 
Burleson's judgment, since its wisdom was seriously ques- 
tioned when he suggested it. He lived to see not only Baylor, 
but two hundred of the leading institutions of the world, 
adopt co-education as a permanent policy. 

Dr. Eufus C. Burleson. 463 

From his very boyhood and on through youth and man- 
hood, Dr. Burleson was possessed of an indefatigable purpose, 
and was an indefatigable worker. On one occasion he was 
heard to say that he had lost but one day from his work in 
fifty years; this happened while waiting for Judge Baylor to 
close a term of the District Court of Milam County, in Cam- 
eron, and accompany him to an appointment on Little Biver. 
He was now seventy-five years old. And ten years more may 
be added to his actual age on account of the discomfort and 
exposure he suffered during his early years in Texas. Trav- 
eling in Texas from 1848 to 1868 was hard work. Dr. Bur- 
leson rode horseback, swam creeks, slept in swamps, went 
without food, and suffered innumerable privations, all of 
which impaired his constitution, never robust since it was 
impaired by hard study at Nashville University in 1840. 

The glory of Baylor was the full realization of his rosiest 
dream and the gratification of his highest ambition. He had 
reached the summit of the hill of life, and was descending to 
the foot on the other side, covered with glory and renown. 

The natural law of germination, growth, development 
and decay is immutable, inexorable, unchanging and unvary- 
ing in its effect on all life, both animate and inanimate. Dr. 
Burleson never realized that this law applied to him, as to all 
flesh, and at seventy-five was possessed of as much will power, 
ambition and mental energy as at any time in his prime. He 
was a remarkable character, and it required just this kind of 
a man to succeed in building in Texas. His qualifications 
were God-given and special. 

At a meeting of the Board of Trustees of Baylor Uni- 
versity, held June the 10th, 1897, Judge W. H. Jenkins intro- 
duced the following resolution : 

"Resolved, That Dr. B. C. Burleson be elected Chancellor 
of Baylor University for life, on a salary of $2,000 per year, 
on the following conditions: At pleasure and convenience 
to labor for the school; right to preside over the faculty; sug- 
gest lines of discipline; advise with and counsel the Board and 
faculty on all matters; Board to select faculty, with advice of 
the Chancellor; the Board to select the chairman of the 

464 The Life and "Writings of 

The debate on this resolution brought out every relative 
and pertinent fact in reference to the Presidency and faculty 
of the school, and resulted in the unopposed adoption of this 
substitute : 

"Resolved, First, That Dr. K. C. Burleson be elected 
President Emeritus of Baylor University for life, on a salary 
of $2,000 per year, to be paid and received under all condi- 
tions of payment of professors doing regular class work. 

"Resolved, Second, That the object of this election is not 
meant to sever his name, memory and influence from Bavlor 
University, but relieving him of the duties and responsibilities 
of teaching and administration, onerous to his advanced age. 
Will allow him to do such general work of travel and corre- 
spondence and lecturing to young preachers as may suit his 
own convenience and inclination." 

A committee, composed of O. S. Lattimore and J. B. 
Scarborough, were appointed to inform Dr. Burleson of the 
action of the Trustees. 

The following day, June 11th, Dr. Burleson appeared in 
person before the Board in a called session, and presented the 
subjoined communication : 

Waco, Texas, June 11, 1897. 
To the Board of Trustees of Baylor University: 

Dear Brethren I have received and prayerfully con- 
sidered your proposition of last night, in which you now pro- 
pose to elect me President Emeritus for life, on a salary of 
$2,000 a year. In this new departure you propose to relieve 
me from teaching, administration and nominating mem- 
bers of the faculty, but to assign me the laborious duties of 
traveling, correspondence and lecturing on homiletics. My 
dear brethren, I wish to say in all kindness and love, this is a 
sad innovation on the laws and usages of Baylor University 
for forty-six years, and by which the school has achieved its 
present glory. I solemnly fear that great evil will result 
from such an innovation. 

But to decline, and dissolve my connection with Baylor, 
for which I have toiled for fortv-six vears, and sacrificed 
$18,000 inherited from my father and father-in-law, would 
bring irreparable damage on my life purpose of founding a 

Dr. Rufus C. Buklesox. 


great Baptist university. I will, therefore, accept the posi- 
tion assigned me and give it a fair trial, and do all in my 
power to advance the glory of Baylor University. 
Yours respectfully, 


When the reading of this letter had been concluded, the 
Trustees knelt, while Dr. Burleson led in prayer. And thus, 
and there, and then, terminated his public career, in a spirit of 
human magnanimity and flow of Christian love and fellowship. 


4G6 The Life and "Writings oe 


T OED MACAULAY said that while England could 
' boast of multitudes of literary men possessed of a 

2ssJ high order of genius, yet she had produced but two 
with great, original, imaginative minds. One of these was 
the author of Pilgrim's Progress; the other Paradise Lost. 

So we say, Texas can boast of a multitude of great preach- 
ers, accomplished scholars and able educators, but has pro- 
duced but one R. C. Burleson. Some surpassed him in the 
pulpit, others were superior in scholastic accomplishments, 
and still others outstripped him in profound learning. But in 
courage, unconquerable loyalty to purpose, ability to make a 
standing place, marvelous capacity for work, in strength of 
administrative capacity, in the educational affairs of Texas, 
like Bunyan and Milton in literature, he occupies a position 
to himself. 

In youth Milton was consumed with the ambition to 
give the world its master epic. Bunyan was saturated with a 
heaven-born purpose to preach. In their thirstings both were 
as ceaseless as the unfolding ages; but neither any more so 
than Kufus C. Burleson to build for the Baptists of Texas a 
great institution of learning. That Milton and Bunyan suc- 
ceeded is the consenting verdict of Christendom. That Dr. 
Burleson succeeded is the unassailable verdict of all Texas. 

In executing his plans difficulties fell athwart his line of 
march, and his plan of battle was obstructed; but he seemed 
to be incapable of the feeling of discouragement, and was a 
stranger to the sensation of fear. He did not assail his oppo- 
nents like Sir Artegal's iron man, Talus, with cruel clubs, 
insensible to human infirmities, but won them with reason if 

Dr. Kcfus C. Burlesox. 467 

he could. If he failed, he did not walk backward, nor swerve 
one iota to the right or left, but pressed straight forward, with 
added enthusiasm and increasing zeal. 

Possessing this element of character, it may seem para- 
doxical, but is, nevertheless, true, that no man appreciated 
more highly the applause of the public, or service of a friend, 
than did Dr. Burleson. Napoleon courted opposition, was 
never despairing, despised offers of assistance, and spurned the 
approval of men. He wanted no other impelling force than his 
own invincible spirit. This is consistency of character. In 
the face of opposing forces these two men were spurred on by 
the same incentive, and revealed the same trait of character. 
Amid the world's applause they displayed widely variant dis- 

Dr. Burleson stood against obloquy calmly, met oppo- 
nents lovingly, contended with difficulties bravely, and won 
his spurs fairly. 

Nothing good was overlooked. He was made a Mason 
in 1853, was a valuable member of the Texas State Historical 
Association, Chaplain and active member of Texas Veteran 
Association, charter member of the State Teachers' Associa- 
tion, and was keenly alive to every public movement and took 
part in every public discussion; yet he made education and 
Baylor University the corner-stone to his entire polity. 

Work was his watchword, and it may be said that he 
lived and died with his shoulder pressing the collar. Return- 
ing from Limestone County, where he assisted in setting 
apart two brethren to the Deaconhood, he took his bed, and on 
the fourteenth of May, nineteen hundred and one, a breath 
from heaven blew out his light of life. 

Stretched on his couch, with every fiber and filament of 
that old body, that had felt the blasts of seventy-eight winters, 
quivering with pain, he begged the watchers to turn his bed 
so he could see the University one more time. 

I long to look on Baylor's walls, 

Just one more time, 

Where for years I prayed and toiled, 

Before mine eyes grow too dim 

To catch that hallowed spot. 

Turn my bed, so I may look 

468 The Life and Wkitings of 

Through the mists of death, 
On those sacred precincts. 
Turn it quickly, for I hear 
The wings of angels fluttering. 
And soon they'll come with message, 
Which all the Kedeemed in glory have heard, 
Come up higher, and wear a crown. 
Fashioned by the Eternal One, 
And worn by Ransomed Spirits, 
Through all uncounted ages, 
In realms of endless bliss. 
Now I see that hallowed spot, 
And look for the last time, 
Upon its sacred precincts. 
Oh, Baylor, Baylor! 
Within thy classic walls, 
I have poured out my soul to God, 
For strength and wisdom 
To guide young hearts and minds, 
Into places of piety and peace, 
And fill their hearts with holy aspirations. 
Since Texas was young 
And thee but a toddling infant, 
We have walked 'til now in locked embrace, 
But the hour of final separation has come. 
My language is faint, my vision gone, 
Sightless, in low-whispered accents 
* I bid Thee a loving and dying farewell. 
Farwell, farewell, forever and ever farewell. 

Dr. Burleson, it may be said, saw the Genesis of Texas, 
and ere his eyes closed in death had the supreme satisfaction 
of witnessing its powerful expansion along both moral and 
material lines. He saw the population of the State increase 
from less than 50,000 to more than 3,000,000. He saw the 
transportation facilities increase from an occasional tramp 
sailing vessel, to thousands of ocean palaces, and the railroad 
lines from nothing to 10,000 miles. He saw the taxable wealth 
of the State grow from less than $100,000,000, to more 
than $1,000,000,000. He saw the cultivated area expand 
from little farms scattered here and there, to more than 100.- 
000,000 acres. 

He saw Texas Baptists increase from a mere handful of 
hardy, struggling pioneers, to a mighty army of 300,000 well 
trained soldiers of the cross. He saw Baylor University open 

Dk. Rufus C. Burlesox. 


with fifty-seven students, and lived to see nearly 1,000 matri- 
culate in the same school. He saw the institution domiciled in 
a wooden building worth $800, and lived to see it occupy 
palatial structures worth $300,000. 

Not only so, but he lived to see the Great Republic, the 
giant of the West, shake off its fetters of isolation, emerge 
from its policy of seclusiveness and become one of the com- 
mercial, financial and diplomatic giants of the world. 

He lived to see the most wonderful and rapid commer- 
cial expansion made by any people in the annals of time. 

Dr. Burleson not only had the pleasure of witnessing all 
this marvelous growth, wonderful development, and the trans- 
forming influence of new thought, and broader plans, both 
in Texas and his common country, but in the evening of life 
and twilight of his career among men, the inexpressible satis- 
faction of feeling that his contribution was some part of the 
forces that had wrought this improvement in the moral, edu- 
cational and industrial condition of the people. 



The Life axd Writings of 

S. L. Morris. Mrs. Hallie Byrd Burleson-Morris. 

Georgialene. Lawrence. 


Richard A. Burleson. Mrs. Ida Bloodworth-Burleson. 

Bessie Bxrd. Emma King. 

Rufus C. Georgia Belle. 


Dr. Rufus C. Burlesox. 471 


Eor valuable assistance in the preparation of this work I 
am indebted to Mrs. Georgia J. Burleson, Richard A. Burle- 
son, Prof. W. W. Franklin, T. W. Morriss, Prof. H. E. Prit- 
chett, Mrs. Harry Haynes, Mrs. Virginia Gillette Murrell, 
and to I. D. Affleck for special help in preparing the chapters 
setting forth the facts of Dr. Burleson's service for public edu- 
cation in Texas. 


First Baptist church of Houston commenced in 1841. 

"Waco Classical School, and Waco University commenced 
in 1861. 

Baylor University at Waco, commenced in 1887. 

Baptist church in Brenham commenced in 1846. 

Masonic Lodge at Independence, commenced in 1839. 

Qriginail 'records of Union Baptist Association, com- 
menced in 1840. 

Original records of the Baptist State convention, com- 
menced in 1848. 

Original records Board Trustees of Waco University. 

Private papers of R. C. Burleson. 


Pickett's History of Alabama. 
Wailes' Agriculture and Geology of Mississippi. 
Marllary's Memoirs of Jesse Mercer. 
Fuller's History of Texas Baptists. 
Monette's History of the Valley of the Mississippi. 
Texas Historical and Biographical Magazine. 
Thrall's History of Texas. 
Comprehensive History of Texas. 
Armitage's History of the Baptists. 
Brief History of the Burleson Family. 
Emerson's History of the Nineteenth Century. 
Proceedings of the Trustees of the Peabody Education 




Dk. Rufus C. Bttrlesox. 475 



Scripture reading by Dr. S. J. Anderson. I Cor. 15 :35- 
55; IThess. 4:13-18; Is. 5-7. 

Prayer by Dr. A. M. Johnson. 

"Oh, God, we come to thee for help and blessing. This 
to us all is an hour of great sorrow and bereavement. We are 
all bereft, with his loved ones from whom he has gone for 
awhile. Strengthen us to bear the stroke which has fallen 
so heavily upon us. Pour the oil of comfort into the broken, 
Weeding hearts of the loved ones left behind. Give to all of 
us a portion of Thy grace to sustain us in this hour of great 
trial. Thou didst give unto us this great and good man, and 
Thou hast taken him from us. Help us to say : "The Lord 
hath given and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the 
name of the Lord." 

"Our Father, we thank Thee that sorrow is not all that 
we experience in our hearts on this occasion. Joy mingles 
with it, and sweetens our grief. We rejoice in the life and 
work of our brother and friend whose lifeless form now lies 
before us. We rejoice in the excellencies and glory of his 
character, and the fruits of his labors. Thy redeeming grace, 
made him pure, good, and great. We see the exhibition in 
his life and work, of what grace divine, can do for men here 
on earth, and the glorious victory it gives in death. 

"Through the veil that intervenes between us and the 
home of the soul, by faith we see our brother seated in the 

476 The Life and Wettings of 

Kingdom of Glory with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is- 
gone, his face will be seen no more among us. We will miss- 
him and feel the loss of his wise counsel. Help us all to 
cherish his memory and to imitate his virtue and holy example. 
Be Thou, Oh Lord, the ever present God of his wife and 
children, holding them in readiness for the meeting and the 
re-union on high, which is sure to come to them with the 
weight of eternal blessing and glory, through Jesus Christ, our 
Lord and Redeemer. Amen." 


"For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded 
that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him ? 
against that day." 2 Tim. 1 :12. 

The sweep of Paul's spiritual vision was matchless. At 
one glance he saw flashes of the purpose and grace which were- 
in Christ Jesus before the world began, the hardships, prisons 
and death of the saints and the uplifted crown reserved for the- 
faithful servants of God. 

!No wonder then, that with this scope of vision he could 
exhort his son Timothy not to be ashamed of the gospel and 
of him, a prisoner because of "the afflictions of the gospel;" 
knowing that through the gospel, Christ had brought life and 
immortality to light, having abolished death. To strengthen 
Timothy for the warfare before him, he places before his mind 
the whole scope of his own comprehensive vision, and declares- 
that though he suffers he is not ashamed. "For," he says, "I 
know whom I have believed." This is strangely in contrast 
with the doubtings and speculations of men in all the ages. 
But Paul was a man thoroughly furnished. His faith was- 
not of that flickering kind that looked as if it might be snuffed 
out by any adverse hand. His knowledge was assertive and 
no man could gainsay it. So profound was he and so dog- 
matic that we are not left "to find out by searching" but to> 
know because God has spoken. When the providences of God 
are threatening the saints and they are trembling in appre- 
hension of some dire disaster, He calls to them above the roar 
of the storm, "We know that all things work together for good 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 477 

to them that love God." When afflictions are pressing him 
sore and no prospect of relief on earth is held out to him, he 
looks beyond into the eternal light and as its glories enrapture 
his soul, he cries out "we know that if our earthly house of 
this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, 
an house not made with hands eternal in the heavens." 

He was a disciple of that "great teacher sent from God," 
"whose teachings were truth and whose words were living." 
"The words which I speak unto you, thev are spirit, they are 

Other men had devised systems, had taught theories, had 
invented philosophies and all had their followers, who believed 
the doctrines of their respective teachers, but it was left to 
Paul's great teacher to give to the world a system of divine 
philosophy, of living words which could quicken the dead 
spirit of lost man into life, power and knowledge. The 
spiritual child of God, when he has had sweet communion 
with his Father, when he has been the beneficiary of blessings 
directly sought and directly bestowed, when he has been 
"delivered from the snare of the fowler" and when he has 
then turned to the treasure house of God's promises and God's 
assurances, may well cry with exultation, "I know whom I 
have believed." 

The afflicted patriarch, with his property and children 
swept from him with putrid sores torturing his body, with 
would-be comforters upbraiding, cried from the depth of his 
woe, "I know that my Redeemer liveth." 

The beloved disciple as he meditated upon the dissolution 
of his body and the deformity which death might work upon 
it, lifted his eye above the grave and fixing upon the bright 
figure beyond exclaimed, "We know that when He shall 
appear we shall be like Him." Blessed knowledge ! How it 
lifts the fallen, cheers the faint, nerves the weak and leads 
the blind ! The Bible is a fact. Christianity is a reality. 
Its system of truths is a fact. Its scheme of redemption is 
a fact, its final consummation will be the great, glorious, 
central fact of the universe. 

I note further the subject matter of the Apostle's knowl- 
edge. He does not simply claim to know the grace of God, 
but him by whom the grace came. He does not claim to know 

478 The Life axd Writings of 

a system of revealed truths, but the author, the embodiment 
of truth. He does not claim to know the lessons by his "great 
teacher taught," but the teacher himself. 

While it is blessed to know things, it is glorious to know 
Him. "I determined not to know anything among you save 
Jesus Christ." "And this is life eternal, that they might 
know thee, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." To know 
him, he must be manifested by himself unto us. "He that 
loveth me shall be loved of my father, and I will love him and 
will manifest myself unto Him." Paul loved Him and by 
divine manifestation was made to know Him. That manifes- 
tation was intimate and full, for it was made by divine in- 
dwelling. "If a man love Me, he will keep My words; and 
my Father will love him, and we will come unto Him and 
make our abode with Him." And thus He manifests Him- 

"We may meet a man upon the streets, may talk with him 
and may even have business relations with him and think we 
know him, but not till he comes into our home and abides 
with us there, can we truly know him. This our God offers 
to do with those who love him. "We will make our abode 
with Him." He will manifest His grace when favors are 
sought, when we are weak He will extend a helping hand and 
give strength, he will pity us when we suffer, sympathize with 
us and deliver us when tempted, sanctify our joys when we 
rejoice, direct and hallow our aspirations for higher life, for 
holy things. Xot only does He abide with us but in us. He 
is enthroned in our hearts. Though his pure white throne 
is eternal in the heavens, He has a throne in every heart that 
loves Him, and thus it is, He manifests Himself. Thus it is 
that He makes us to know Him. Well then might one like 
Paul claim to know Him. He believed Him and so fully 
that he was persuaded, convinced that He would keep that 
which He had committed unto Him against that day. We do 
not need to ask what Paul had committed to his Lord. He 
was no half-hearted man. He was his Lord's altogether or 
he was nothing. His body, mind and spirit were all laid at 
his Master's feet, all consecrated to His cause. These and 
all that pertain to them or that may grow out of them, had 
been entrusted to the divine keeping. That new born creature 

De. Kufus C. Burleson. 479 

that spiritual being, whose Father is God, was taken from the 
bull-rushes of sin and committed to the keeping of Him, who 
is more tender than a mother and stronger than a father. And 
though temptations might come like rolling billows, "deep 
calling unto deep," yet nothing was able to pluck him out of 
the Father's hand. And his body which had been buffeted 
and striped, which had been shipwrecked and imprisoned, 
which had toiled and suffered in order to make known the 
grace and glory of his Lord, had been committed to the same 
faithful keeper with full assurance that it would be sustained 
under all future trials and sufferings, and that when the hour 
of his departure should come, it would be coffined in the heart 
of Him who has power over death, who is the "resurrection 
and the life." And when Christ who is his life shall appear 
he shall also appear with Him in glory. As with the Apostle, 
so with the stately form which lies before us. Though chilled 
by the cold breath of monster death, yet he who is the resur- 
rection, will restore warmth and life and give glory. "When 
he shall appear we shall be like Him." "Our vile bodies shall 
be fashioned like unto his glorious body." 

"Against that day." That glorious resurrection day! 
That day when the graves and the sea and every hiding place 
shall give up their dead ! That day when disembodied spirits 
and glorified bodies shall be reunited ! That day when the 
pious ones of scattered families shall strike hands in glory ! 
That day when the living shall be changed to be conformed, 
to the bodies of the risen dead that all may be caught up 
together to meet the Lord in the air! Among that vast 
throng of glorified ones will appear our friend and father, our 
loved one whom we lament to-day. 

Waco is in sackcloth to-day, and Texas is weeping. No 
wonder when the sad news of Dr. Burleson's death is whis- 
pered from house to house and from ear to ear, that sadness 
and gloom settles over the entire city. In private homes and 
business houses, in shops and on the streets, in railroad circles 
and indeed everywhere men bow in sorrow and reverence 
under this sad dispensation of an inscrutable providence. 

Those who here in the early days of Waco's history know 
by actual observation and participation that by forty years of 
arduous toil, sacrifice, intelligent direction, wise management, 

480 The Lite and "Writings of 

and unswerving devotion to a purpose Dr. Burleson has lead 
in making or has made this city the Athens of Texas, and a 
business center that need not be ashamed. All Texas has been 
the recipient of blessings from his life and labors. Sermons 
preached, churches constituted, souls saved, who can estimate 
these which are scattered all over this broad state. Educated 
men and women who have gone out all over the state, in all 
the honorable walks of life, carrying light, learning and piety, 
are instances of his useful life. He was among the first to 
advocate the building of railroads in Texas. His prescience 
revealed to him advantages to the companies, to the people 
and to the state government. By talking, writing and speak- 
ing he aided greatly in awakening an interest that set rolling 
stock in motion and has increased until Texas has become a 
great railway empire within herself. Though not a capitalist, 
he was early taken into the counsels of those who wo aid build 
railroads, and his wisdom was recognized by all. 

But that which attracted most attention to his useful life 
was his interest in higher learning and in this line Baylor 
University is his monument, and no man will ever be able to 
take his crown. His interest in general education is attested 
by his fidelity to his trust as agent of the Peabody fund. Dr. 
Burleson while towering among the intellectual giants of his 
day, was not oblivious to the minor details of life. His esti- 
mate of personal friendship rendered it dishonorable in any 
one and impossible to himself to abandon a friend, unless 
driven by the infidelity of a faithless friend to higher ground. 
It is one of the greatest pleasures of my life to have been his 
friend, and one of the highest honors of my life to have had 
his friendship. 

Just a word of Dr. Burleson as a public speaker. "While 
his flights of oratory were sometimes high and always beauti- 
ful and pleasing, he was irresistibly logical. True the links 
might not always be traced but the connections were patent. 

The worm may start from the summit of a mole hill, 
descend its side and cross the space intervening between it, and 
its neighboring mole hill and ascend the latter, and you can 
trace his course, through the dust the whole length of his 

Dr. Burrs C. Burlesox. 481 

The eagle perched upon some lofty peak, spreads his 
pinions for his lofty flight, and rests again upon a neighboring 
peak. You see him here, now there. But his course through 
the air is trackless. 

Dr. Burleson's logic was not as the crawling worm, but 
as the lofty eagle. His flight was elevated, his links were 
long and his chain was irresistible. 

A good and true man has gone to his reward and may 
the Holy Spirit comfort us arid strengthen us while we pre- 
pare to meet him in Glory. Amen. 


"Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man 
fallen this day in Israel." 2 Sam. 3 :38. 

Language is entirely too meagre to give expression to the 
feelings on such an occasion as this. "When one has been 
closely associated for scores of years with a man so great, so 
good, so eminently useful, and then realizes that forever, as 
far as this earthly existence is concerned, such associations is 
at an end, he can find no words to express the emotions which 
burn in his bosom and completely overmaster him. 

Men are constantly dying, and no great loss is felt. The 
hurt is local, but when a great man falls the world is bereaved. 
When God endows a man in brain and heart above his fellows, 
when He lays his hand on him, the man becomes a man of 
destiny. Such a man was Moses, the great jurist and states- 
man. Such a man was Isaiah, the great prophet and poet. 
Such a man was Washington, the soldier and patriot. Such 
a man was Gladstone, the statesman and humanitarian. Such 
a man was Burleson, the great preacher and educator. 

When this grand man died his family and relatives were 
bereaved. Waco was bereaved as never before. Texas was 
bereft of her noblest son. The Baptist denomination was 
sadly bereaved. The world felt the shock when Burleson fell. 

The life of Dr. Burleson was a life of toil and sacrifice, 
a life of tears and prayer. His very environments compelled 
him to make brick without straw, but he made them well. 


482 The Life and Writings of 

He has impressed his life upon the world. He will live on 
and on in the hearts of the ten thousand pupils who have 
received the inspiration from him. 

Among these are Jurists and Statesmen, Educators and 
Preachers, besides the thousands who, in the private walks of 
life, are treading the pathway in which he placed their feet. 

Dr. Burleson will never die. Through this great army 
of pupils, his influence will be felt until the Judgment Day. 

More than forty years ago, while a school boy, I met this 
great man. His hair was like the raven, his eye like the 
eagle. His form was erect, and his bearing was manly. The 
gentleness of the dove, and the courage of the lion were 
strangely combined in his make up. I was drawn to him as 
to no other man whom I ever met. Through life he has been 
my ideal of greatness and of goodness, and when it fell to my 
lot to name an institution of learning, which I was to some 
extent instrumental in founding, I placed what honor I could 
on this friend. The trustees offered to honor me with the 
name, but I felt it was more honor to me to give it a name, 
than that it should bear my name, hence I said, "!No, brethren, 
we will call it Burleson College." 

On a hill one mile west of the Court House is Greenville, 
Texas, stands this beautiful building of brick and stone, three 
stories high, of modern architecture, and well adapted to the 
purposes for which it was erected. While generations pass, 
it will stand as a slight testimonial of the affection felt for the 
man, whom Waco and Texas is now honoring by this mighty 
throng of citizens, who have assembled to pay this tribute of 

He has left to his family a heritage worth more than gold, 
while a sense of inexpressible loneliness takes possession of 
them on account of this separation, yet their sadness is not 
unmixed. It will always be a well-spring of joy to them to 
remember that this beloved one lived for them, for his country, 
and for his God. That he fought a good fight and kept the 
faith, that he died in the harness, and that henceforth there is 
laid up for him a crown, and that in the blessed hereafter they 
will be with him again. 

Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 483 


(representing public schools.) 

It is my purpose in the few moments at my disposal to 
say a few words in behalf of the school children and the 
teachers of Texas, expressive of the gratitude due Dr. Burle- 
son for his long service as a teacher and of the keen loss sus- 
tained in his death. 

I first met Dr. Burleson nearly twenty-seven years ago. 
His kind face and gentle tones as he welcomed all of the 
children, drew me to him. 

I felt him to be my friend. There was a sympathy in his 
face and a tenderness in his voice that assured me that I need 
havp no fear of him. 

During the greater part of the intervening twenty-seven 
years I have been intimately associated with him, and I have 
never had cause to reverse that first judgment. 

He was not only my friend but he was the friend of 
every boy and girl throughout this broad land of ours, and 
well may the school children of Waco and of every other 
school community in Texas let fall tears of sorrow to-day, for 
they have lost a friend. Dr. Burleson has been a friend to 
the Youth of Texas in many ways. ISTot only has he blessed 
those with whom he has come in direct contact, but by his 
influence upon our public school system his life has blessed 
thousands who never saw him. 

During the dark days of reconstruction, the public school 
idea met with bitter opposition by many of the best and most 
prominent men of Texas and other Southern States. It wa* 
not popular then, as it is now, to advocate free schools, yet he 
braved the storm of criticism that "such a course would bring 
upon him and fearlessly advocated, in private, from the 
rostrum, and through the press, a broad and liberal system of 
public schools. 

He did much to create public sentiment and popularize 
our school system. While giving his life to the great upbuild- 
ing of a great private school, he showed none of that narrow- 

484 The Life and Writings of 

ness and selfishness that so often cause men to oppose whatever 
promises in any sense to rival their own undertakings. 

He did much towards hastening the professional training 
of teachers in Texas. The founding of the Sam Houston 
Normal might have been delayed for a number of years, had 
it not been for his influence in securing a favorable recommen- 
dation from Governor Roberts to the Legislature, and in get- 
ting a large contribution from the Peabody Fund, with which 
to supplement the State appropriation. 

Dr. Burleson did much toward effecting the organization 
of Texas State Teachers Association, and few men were more 
regular in attendance upon the meetings of this body, or did 
more to bring it to a high standard of efficiency. He was 
indeed a friend to every legitimate school enterprise, and no 
teacher who went to him for counsel was turned away for lack 
of sympathy. 

In many respects Dr. Burleson was an ideal teacher. He 
did not select the profession of teaching, simply as a means 
of earning a living, nor because he considered it an easy call- 
ing. There were many other vocations much more inviting 
to the youth, striving for the accumulation of wealth, and cer- 
tainly he could have chosen none in which the demand for the 
devotion of every moment of time and every particle of energy 
was greater. 

He selected teaching because of its opportunities for 
larger usefulness and greater good. And no man ever fol- 
lowed his calling more earnestly or adhered more tenaciously 
to his purposes. When other men had grown tired and had 
lain down to rest he toiled on with an energy that never 
flagged. When, discouraged by apparent failure, others had 
lost heart and had given up in despair, his keen vision pene- 
trated the lowering clouds of temporary defeat and gave to 
him a vision of glorious success that would ultimately crown 
his labors; and stimulated by such a vision his star of hope 
seemed to rise higher and higher as darker grew the night. 
Though often weary, alone and unappreciated, yet he never 
gave up. In the school room his patience with those for 
whom he labored was often misconstrued and sometimes even 
abused, but it mattered not with him, he went straight forward 
doing what he conceived to be his duty, knowing that the 

Dk. Rufus C. Burleson. 485 

abuse of the present would in most cases give way to appre- 
ciation and praise in the future. 

His private interests were always secondary to his profes- 
sional duties and were never allowed to interrupt his duties as 
a teacher, even though he suffered cruel abuse for this neglect 
of self. 

As he lies mute before us we may well ask : Was this 
all in vain? Was his constant zeal of no avail? Was his 
life squandered on the barren field ? Have the seeds he sowed 
perished or have they taken root, and will a glorious harvest 
of happy, intelligent, useful men and women be the result 
of his sowing? Though his physical frame now rests, shall 
he do no more work? Though his lips are now closed in 
death, yet is that voice silent? For reply we have to but look 
over this great state of ours and see men and women in every 
vocation who are more successful because of having come 
under his influence. ISTor is his work confined to Texas or 
even to this continent. In the land of the Southern Cross, 
and in the pagan fields of the far East his voice may be heard 
to-day inviting men to purer lives and eternal happiness. 

One of his intense earnestness, matchless energy, an 
indomitable courage must have accomplished much in even a 
short allotment of time. But his period of activity was of 
such long duration that the magnitude of the work he has 
done is truly amazing. Only eternity can show the full 
measure of the good done by such a life. 

"Long he's struggled, but at last 

Has come a summons from on high 
And his soul with angel escort 

Has sought its home beyond the sky. 

Then let the youth of this great State 
They whom he has died to save 

Ever with grateful hearts revere him 

And with flowers bedeck his grave." 

486 The Life and Writings of 

(representing the press.) 

The prelate of the people, the noble old churchman, 
under God's appointing and by man's consent, who like a land- 
mark pointed, inflexibly the way, who lived for his God and 
governed by that control which needs no arms, no cannon, 
no bayonets and no physical force, is dead as to the mortal 
part, but lives still and will never pass away. Dr. Burleson 
was a democrat in religion, a log cabin preacher, whose gentle 
voice went further than the bugle the warrior loves, than the 
drum the soldiers hear and to the tender music of his entreaties 
men yielded, not slavishly, but happily. By his mission he 
was uplifted, by his uplifting the people arose, mounting 
under his guidance to the higher plane where all is harmony 
and where all is love. 

It is customary on the part of eulogists to place in the 
background some of the faults of their subject, in order by 
contrast to brighten the vision of his greater life. In the case 
nf Dr. Burleson he had no faults; that is the way I take it. 
Jonah rebelled, Moses halted, David offended, but this sub- 
lime model, patterned after Christ, his Master, walked fear- 
lessly without other guide. If there were apparently some- 
thing needing improvement he was better off without mortal 
admonitions, for then instead of man's correction his refor- 
mation came from the fountain head and each correction was 
of divine origin. As the body grew feebler the soul grew 
stronger, and thus it was to the end. In that hour when the 
seal was set upon those glorious lips of his, that immutable 
seal which none but God can roll away, he glowed in the 
radiance of eternal approval, and from his death-bed went 
forth rays which illuminated the world, which will beam with 
the brightest stars in God's own firmament. This old preacher 
was faith itself. Who knows what he saw when his white soul 
stood in communion, hearing only the commands of the King 
of his existence, listening as did Moses and Samuel to the 
orderings of Heaven, commands he faithfully extended to his 
religious constituency all over the alnd. I say this, Mr. Chair- 

Dr. Kufus C. Burleson. 487 

man, and yon ladies and gentlemen here assembled to do honor 
to our dead prophet, that the faults were absent, the virtues 
manifold and that eulogist will be nearest right who goes the 
furthest in the praise of Kufus C. Burleson, D. D., LL. D., 
the great educator of Texas, whose life was devoted to the 
noblest cause for which humanity is struggling. 


(representing old students.) 

With bowed heads and sad hearts we gaze to-day for the 
last time on all that is mortal of the Christian patriot, the 
eloquent preacher, the gifted writer, and the successful edu- 
cator, Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 

I do but voice the sentiments of a large number of the 
ten thousand students whom this grand man has instructed 
during the last fifty years, when I say that und